Labor: An Ongoing Cost
The labor or man-hours requirement for DR includes discovery, planning, procurement, solution design and implementation, maintenance, and regular testing. The work on the DR program is never “finished.” You are always going to need someone to oversee the DR program: either a project manager within the company or a third-party vendor. That person is responsible for ensuring that the DR program is managed properly and kept in alignment with current business operations. They also adjust the DR plan if there are any changes within the IT environment. For example, if a certain application is retired and replaced with a new one, the DR plan must be updated to account for the new application rather than the retired one. This initial and ongoing labor comes at a cost, but it is a necessary cost if you want your DR program to be effective.
Hardware: CAPEX vs. OPEX
Every DR solution depends on hardware – whether you buy it yourself or pay a third-party vendor to use their equipment. You need to determine what you can afford, and choose the best solution you can for that budget.
If you elect to have your DR entirely “in house,” then you will need items such as storage arrays, data replication software, a reliable network carrier, and a secondary site more than 100 miles away per best practice to house all the equipment. These capital expense (CAPEX) costs can quickly mount up, and may be too burdensome for constrained IT budgets.
If you choose a third-party Recovery as a Service (RaaS) vendor to host your DR environment, you don’t have to worry about making a capital investment in the necessary hardware, or about maintaining and upgrading that hardware. But it is going to cost you as an operational expense (OPEX) as you pay the vendor for their services.
Connectivity: Service, Speed, and Security
The third major obstacle to implementing a DR strategy is connectivity. How are you going to connect to your backup data in the event of an outage or disaster? If your system is simple, your connectivity may require nothing more complicated than a phone line. If you are connecting to the cloud, all you need to do is find a WiFi connection to retrieve your data. If your solution involves a higher level of protection (e.g., you are replicating your information to another data center), you may require secure connections or access to private areas of a data center. The more expensive types of connectivity generally provide you with better service, speed, and security … exactly when you need it most.
The Critical Need: C-Level Sponsorship
Because DR programs require labor, hardware, and connectivity – and because all that comes at a considerable cost – C-level executives have to be involved and invested in DR strategies as they would be in any other important initiative within the company. When an organization treats a DR solution as a project, the expectation is for a work effort of short duration that needs little if any executive support. However, when a DR solution is treated as part of the CIO’s/CTO’s IT portfolio, its raised profile demands executive sponsorship. With that executive sponsorship comes the financial support necessary to remove these obstacles and establish a robust DR program that will truly protect the company.
Related Business Solution: Disaster Recovery