When insuring the contents of their house against theft, most people hope to be spending money on a policy they’ll never have to use. The more cautious will over- pay, over-insure and over-protect, just in case the worst should happen. However, after several years of paying for an insurance policy they’ve never claimed against, it is certainly tempting to take your chances and hope for the best.
In a similar way, any disaster recovery (DR) policy involves spending to protect against potential damage – in effect it is insurance against a disaster that may never happen. As a consequence, some companies may be tempted to axe it in an effort to cut costs during the recession.
It is possible to strike the right balance between cost and necessity. Consider the business principles behind DR and assess what the business would really need in the event of a disaster. When Natwest’s banking transfer functions were hit by a hardware failure earlier this year, millions of customers were left unable to withdraw cash.
The overall monetary cost ran into millions after just one day but the cost in terms of customer satisfaction was immeasurable. A bad customer experience leaves resentment that lasts and should leave us all too aware of how cost effective a quick and efficient DR strategy could be.
In the end, especially during difficult economic times, over-paying for a strategy that exceeds the values of potential losses doesn’t make business sense, but experience tells us it does pay to be prepared for disaster. If organisations are willing to risk going without a comprehensive DR strategy, for the sake of cost saving in the recession it is something they may regret if they’re caught out in the storm.
James Carnie is head of solutions architecture at Adapt
This was first published in October 2013