We usually think of being ready for a disaster as a kind of insurance policy against a low probability event. This approach treats SMB and enterprise DR planning as necessary, but hardly strategic, and most of us would never consider it as a competitive advantage. We should.
In the spring of 2007, just before the 2008 financial crisis hit, Nassim Taleb presciently published a widely read book called The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. As if reading from a crystal ball, Taleb laid out his thesis that as our global economy scales and becomes more and more complex, we would begin to see the unforeseen and unpredictable more and more often. He argued that to be competitive and truly profit from these unpredictable “black swan” events, you have to organize your business strategy to be ready for them, even if they seem very unlikely.
Effective Enterprise DR Planning Includes Cybersecurity, Public Health, and Natural Disasters
Since then we have had at least two of these worldwide seismic events. The most recent, the current pandemic, has been a wakeup call for every business worldwide. Disasters on a global scale do happen and, as it turns out, some businesses have been better prepared to meet the needs of their customers during this event. These companies have not only realized a short-term competitive advantage, they have secured a firm foundation for their future growth.
But if disasters are unpredictable black swans, how do you plan for them? Taleb shows through a series of examples how important it is to think through the worst kind of risks that you might face and take out insurance against those possibilities. If the risk seems low to everyone else, then it will probably turn out that it doesn’t cost that much to insure yourself against it. And a corollary of this principle, if the worst happens, you will also probably be one of the few survivors. Which can put your business in a very strong competitive situation.
One of the important pieces in your disaster insurance strategy has to be a good disaster recovery plan for your company’s data. Cybersecurity events fall into that class of newly emerging black swan threats that face every business. As we embrace autonomous technologies built around IoT, AI and machine-learning, we are unleashing tremendous productive potential, but we are also setting ourselves up for a potential perfect digital storm.
Much as public health professionals have been warning us of the possibility of a pandemic for the last few decades, cybersecurity professionals have been trying to alert the world to its precarious state around digital security. No one knows exactly how or what will occur, but most who work in this field are concerned that we have a good chance of seeing a major cybersecurity event in the coming decades. Will your business be ready to survive and potentially even profit from it?
Key Considerations for SMB and Enterprise DR Planning
As gloomy as these threats are to contemplate, effective enterprise DR planning has to start with thinking through the worst-case scenarios that you might face so that you can ensure that resources and processes are in place to prevent or rapidly recover from a disaster.
Here are some key considerations at-a-glance. For a complete framework and further step-by-step details, download our free Disaster Recovery Plan Template.
- Start by looking at what parts of your business systems, applications and data that you simply cannot afford to lose.
- Then take it to the next level by asking, “If all of my competitors were knocked down by the same event as me, what kinds of data recovery would give me an immediate advantage?” There could be an easily achievable difference between being minimally operable and able to pounce on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
- In developing a good data disaster recovery plan, you need to analyze the vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure and identify the critical components of your operations. This has to be linked to a thorough analysis of your business functions and an assessment of which are the most critical to your ability to not only survive but successfully compete.
- You must also ensure that your disaster recovery plan is well understood by your teams. Ensure that they are prepared to execute the DR plan when the time comes. This is difficult to do when the threat is a black swan event that is unpredictable and looks to most people consumed in their daily to-dos as highly theoretical, at best.
- For this reason, it is important to fully script out the responses to a wide variety of emergency scenarios. Training and periodic trial runs — fire drills — are also a good way to ensure that when the moment comes, people will have developed some engrained patterns that they can fall back on when their amygdala has gone into overdrive.
- To ensure that you have the skill sets and coverage needed during a disaster, also think about engaging the services of a third-party disaster recovery team. We have fire-fighters and other first responders for a very good reason. Training and constant practice in dealing with disasters is the only good way to be prepared for them when they strike. However, most businesses and organizations want to avoid having ‘constant practice’ with recovering from disasters for obvious reasons.
A disaster recovery partner can allow you to focus on your day to day operations, while also having access to reliable and specialized backup and recovery support. A DR partner can apply the deep expertise that they have honed with disasters day in and day out to your specific business needs. They can help you think through your business priorities, identify vulnerabilities in your systems, design backup systems and protocols, and provide critical and rapid response support. This will ensure that you cannot only recover gracefully but seize the moment when your competitors cannot.
Storagepipe to the Rescue
Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes
Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services and can help to provide guidance as you work through your SMB or enterprise DR planning process.
Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.
We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.
Contact us today to discover your options around data loss prevention and rapid ransomware recovery with services such as DRaaS Veeam managed appliance for VMWare and HyperV, DRaaS physical server replication, and other Storagepipe DR services. Ensure your business continuity by meeting your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.