IDC says that the amount of data created in the next three years will be more than the total amount of data created in the last 30 years. While the numbers are still coming in for 2020, almost everyone we talk to agrees on one thing – the pandemic likely created even more data than expected in 2020. If anything, data growth may be compounded as the pandemic prompted many organizations to accelerate their digital transformation timelines and address their disaster recovery planning for 2021.
Challenges with managing the flood of data
The flood of data in modern business can get overwhelming, and some organizations may find themselves struggling to stay afloat. One frequently cited challenge is the shortage of IT talent. In a survey published in Feb 2020, 86% of IT leaders said they expected a shortage of cloud talent to slow down their cloud projects in 2020. This survey was conducted BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. labor pool, and no doubt it only exacerbated the challenge since then.
The other primary challenge is cost. IT resources are expensive, and while some tasks require specialized expertise, you may not need a full-time resource. Businesses often rely on a seasoned go-to expert with broad experience. Even if they’re not a specialist, they know enough to direct the work across a wide range of responsibilities.
Many organizations are turning to managed service providers and third-party data centers to improve business resilience and their cost structure. A hosted cloud environment can be far more economical than maintaining a data center. It also provides easy access to specialized talent. At TierPoint, our position in the market means we can attract some of the best talent there is, and our bench is deep and wide.
Five categories of disaster recovery planning
Disaster recovery is one of those specialized tasks. Data is seen as a strategic asset by many organizations. Protecting your business operations against data loss and ensuring business resilience should be a top priority.
Despite the value of enterprise data and the high cost of downtime, IDC estimates that only about 48% of enterprise applications are covered by a disaster recovery plan.
Furthermore, many of these disaster recovery plans may be inadequate in that they don’t cover the range of scenarios that are likely to impact today’s business systems. Here are five categories, each of which may require multiple disaster recovery scenarios.
Typically, disaster recovery and business continuity discussions focus on natural disasters such as a hurricane, tornado, fire, or flood.
In the last decade, as ransomware and DDoS attacks increased, many organizations smartly increased their focus on cybersecurity events. Not only did they need to plan for equipment failure due to an attack, but they also need to design a well-rehearsed response to demands from cybercriminals.
Cyberattacks are one of the categories that require planning across multiple scenarios as the types of cyberattacks that can befall an organization varies widely. In addition, these plans need to be updated frequently as cybercriminals change their approach or new defenses are developed.
Unfortunately, 2020 emphasized the need to consider political unrest in your disaster recovery plans as well. If your work environment becomes unsafe, can your employees still continue to do their jobs from home or from a secured work environment? While man-made disasters can be especially upsetting, the faster you can help employees return to a sense of normalcy, the better they’ll be able to cope.
Equipment and power failure
Often power failure is directly tied to a natural disaster, but as recent events in Texas demonstrated, power grids aren’t always as resilient as we’d like them to be. Your disaster recovery plan should include multiple scenarios for short-term, long-term, and rolling blackouts.
COVID-19 gave business leaders a chance to test how well their business continuity and disaster recovery strategies performed in a pandemic scenario. COVID put a unique and outsized burden on IT leadership to perform. As the dust settles, organizations will be asking: What did we do well? What could we do better? And, how do we prepare for the next disruption?
Our Strategic Guide to Disaster Recovery and DRaaS provides a 10-point checklist that can help you create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DR plan) or refresh your existing plan, so you can be ready when disaster strikes. Here are the steps we focus on in the guide.
- Build your disaster recovery plan on business continuity
- Understand your dependencies
- Tier your applications – mission-critical business applications should be recovered first
- Understand the impact of data change rates on replication bandwidth
- Set requirements for recovery environments, including service level agreements (SLAs)
- Choose your replication methods based on recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO)
- Identify internal resources and application experts
- Test your disaster recovery plan regularly. Testing your plan is key to ongoing success.
- Derive short-term return on investment (ROI) from your DRaaS environment
- Derive long-term ROI from your disaster recovery environment
Executing your disaster recovery plan with DRaaS
Even the best disaster recovery plan isn’t going to protect your organization if it’s not well-executed. This includes configuring your systems according to the plan and testing the plan on a regular basis. A 2018 study found that while the majority of organizations had at least some disaster recovery plan in place, about a quarter of them failed to test their plan to see if it worked.
Increasingly, organizations are turning to Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to help them with disaster recovery planning and execution. With DRaaS, the cloud provider owns the data center infrastructure and equipment. The disaster recovery applications are deployed in the cloud, and with full DRaaS, maintained by the managed service provider.
The DRaaS provider manages the routine tasks involved with disaster recovery, like maintaining the software and equipment and testing systems regularly to ensure they will work as expected when and if they are needed. All of this is provided for a monthly or quarterly subscription, and typically, treated as an operating expense by the organization using the service.
IDC predicts that the DRaaS market will grow by a compounded annual growth rate of 16.7% through 2024. This growth will encourage new entrants into an already crowded market. Enterprises will have to do their due diligence when choosing a DRaaS provider. The right provider should not only be able to manage your disaster recovery processes but also be ready to help you determine the best strategy for each workload.
Disaster recovery planning for 2021: A report
Download our complimentary IDC Technology Spotlight: Enterprises Seek Disaster Recovery Services in 2021 for Data Resilience Post-COVID-19 to learn more about the trends influencing disaster recovery planning this year. Let’s have a conversation about your disaster recovery plan. Contact us to see how we can help you explore your disaster recovery plan options and strategies.