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Why 2021 is a Turning Point for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning


With business continuity more critical and challenging, conventional disaster recovery (DR) programs aren’t keeping up.

Time: 4 minute read
Let’s be real. Few companies’ business continuity and disaster recovery planning included global pandemic.

It didn’t impact data or systems availability that disaster recovery (DR) programs typically focus on. Yet, the pandemic massively disrupted the business world.

Suddenly, companies needed to find ways for employees to work remotely. Where offices could remain open, new ways of working together – and sharing information and data – needed to be implemented. From top to bottom, it forced businesses to take a hard, honest look at their systems.

And for most, their business continuity and disaster recovery planning became a major focus.

As organizations have peeled back the curtain on legacy DR technologies, many are recognizing that their DR programs can't keep up with the demands — and risks — of today's digital, cloud-driven, 24/7/365 business world. 

Businesses are also realizing that, while they may have weathered the Covid storm, they may be less prepared than they thought to deal with much more common events, whether it’s technology failure, a natural disaster, ransomware, or simple user error.

96% of companies have experienced at least one system outage in the last 3 years (2) [an illustration of a clock]

The threat of downtime grows more common — and more costly

Even before the pandemic, most business’ digital ecosystems were expanding rapidly. They’ve seen more applications, broader networks and exponentially more data every year. 

Today, the typical business ecosystem increasingly includes public, private and hybrid cloud-hosted applications and systems. Information and data are everywhere. This makes it even more challenging to build comprehensive DR programs to manage and protect all these digital assets. 

The result? Downtime events happen more frequently than ever.

  • 7 in 10 businesses have experienced a downtime event in the last two months.1 
  • 96% have experienced at least one system outage in the last three years.2 
One Hour of Downtime costs... $540,000 for a large enterprise (4) which equates to $9,000 per minute for larger enterprises (4)
At the same time, the cost of downtime continues to grow.

And the numbers are truly astounding. Just one hour of downtime can cost an average of $25,000 for small businesses.3 For large enterprises, the cost can average a whopping $540,000.4 

Those costs are rarely recovered via “pent-up demand” when service is restored. Why? The primary “goods” produced by many companies today are expertise and trusted service. In many cases, there is no recovering these intangible goods. 

Today, downtime increasingly means permanent losses.
3 in 5 businesses are not confident they can meet Service Level Objectives to fully recover systems and data

Most businesses know they need better DR solutions

Despite the alarming statistics, the truth is that most businesses know they aren’t well-prepared to quickly and effectively recover from a downtime event. Three out of five businesses admit that they’re not confident in their ability to meet Service Level Objectives in the event of a major disruption. 

Businesses also know the DR challenge isn't getting any easier – 84% acknowledge that their current DR solution won’t meet their future business challenges.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to take a hard, honest look at their business continuity and disaster preparedness planning from top to bottom. As they peel back the curtain on legacy DR technologies, more organizations are recognizing that their DR programs can't keep up with the demands — and risks — of today's digital, cloud-driven, 24/7/365 business world.

DR is even more critical in a post-pandemic world

The statistics above were reported when 2020 began. At that point, those numbers proved concerning. 

But to say that “things have changed” would be understatement. Our world of work has evolved dramatically in the past year, with a widespread shift to remote, flexible work for many. This shift makes businesses fundamentally reliant on their remote employees’ continuous access to cloud-hosted applications. 

As a result, businesses need to manage an immense, decentralized digital ecosystem. And it’s a system with vastly more potential “fail points” (including many more third party-hosted apps) than a year ago.

The pandemic also revealed that DR is not just about ensuring people have access to systems — it’s also about ensuring companies have access to their people.

In other words, if your employees are remote and your networks are down, how do IT staff execute critical DR tasks? And if your IT staff are sick and unable to work, do you have a backup plan for your backup plan?

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2021 is a turning point in DR

The events of the past year created a reckoning point for business continuity and disaster recovery planning in the business world. Increasing risks to business continuity parallel increasing costs of downtime at a time when there are higher expectations for continuous service. 

Businesses that leverage new technologies and DR service models that quickly implement more powerful and flexible DR programs will be positioned not just to survive, but to thrive in a world of more complexity and more uncertainty. 

Fortunately, the same factors driving this reckoning have also opened the door to powerful cloud-driven, as-a-service DR technologies. These Disaster Recover as a Service (DRaaS) solutions deliver DR performance suited to the demands of a cloud-driven, always-on business world. 

As Bloomberg concluded in a recent report on DRaaS, "the rapid shift to and acceptance of cloud technologies during the pandemic, combined with the improvements in manageability that are a major feature of the ‘as a service’ DR model, 2021 is positioned as a perfect year for many companies to make the leap.”

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