Data is the life’s blood of many a modern organisation. While losing a little data might mean a minor hiccup for a company, losing too much data is veering into truly dangerous territory. When considering that companies today pay lots of attention to collecting more data than ever before to analyse and make decisions upon, far too many of them do not consider the critical issues of backup and disaster recovery.
The big data question companies need to ask of themselves is: What if it all breaks? How much will it cost us to fix it and most importantly, get our data back?
When some kind of catastrophic failure hits a company’s data, the costs start piling up immediately as employees who would normally be busy working are forced to sit idly, unable to continue with their work.
The ‘immediate’ costs of data loss are easy to quantify; they include the hourly rate of your employees for each hour of down-time, any money paid out in interest and money in lost sales. The figures will already be considerable, but in truth, that’s not all.
The real costs of data loss are more complex and much more shocking. What kind of value do you place on precious information, information such as your customer database, confidential client data, financial records, employee data? Worse still, what is the value of the trust and confidence your clients lost in your company when your data disappeared?
As with hacking attacks and employee sabotage, reliable information about data disasters is hard to collect as companies, understandably, don’t like to proclaim their failings. That said, we hear the phrase, “It doesn’t matter what it costs, just get my data back”, roughly about once a week.
Some or most data can be recovered relatively quickly most of the time. However, almost all data loss incidents could have been prevented using simple, manageable policies and procedures.
The key word here is planning. Ensure that you’ve planned ahead so that if disaster strikes, you’re covered. Ask yourself (or ask your experts) who should have a hand in your data recovery planning, how should you formulate your budget, which of your data is absolutely mission critical and you can’t do without it.
Typically, companies save money when they leave their backups and replication in the hands of expert companies rather than trying to run a disaster recovery solution in-house themselves. The costs of housing, running and maintaining standby equipment in preparation for a disaster is not inconsequential and organisations that manage their own data and recovery internally have been forced to invest heavily in infrastructure, often also greatly expanding their IT retinue in the process.
In this context it is becoming more business-wise to to use specialised hosting and data security firms to decrease costs. Such service providers allow businesses to purchase only the services they actually use, rather than investing in extra equipment which is required for physical backup and recovery, some of which is barely ever used.
If all this seems overwhelming, it’s understandable, so don’t worry. Data recovery will surely be one of the major IT topics we face in the years ahead. It’s inevitable provided the enormous databases more businesses now find themselves owning. Speak to experts in the area and make sure that you're well covered from the get go!