No Pun Intended: Is Disaster Recovery Broken?

Broken Glass

Disaster Recovery tools can be great, even life-saving for businesses that suffer at the hands of a disaster, whether it be a user error, breach, storm, or a server crash. Unfortunately, the technology does not yet exist for these solutions to operate completely without human intervention. In fact, even after deployment, there is a great deal of work that has to be put into recovery tools in order to ensure that they are operating up to standard.

The stigma amongst IT professionals is that one has to be a ‘DR Nazi’ in order to make sure that whatever tool they use is running up to speed and can kick in should they need it. While that critique may be a little harsh, it is true that these types of tools are not the type organizations can simply set and forget. A quick internet search for Disaster Recovery testimonials will yield horror stories, verifying to us just how important they can be. Disaster recovery solutions can also be a tough sell to business stakeholders.

Given these facts, one can’t help but ask, is Disaster Recovery broken?

As I mentioned earlier, getting management on board with shelling out a large sum of money for a tool that they may have never heard of is tough. It’s true, the executive is the biggest hurdle in Disaster Recovery adoption. In that sense, recovery is absolutely broken. If you can convince those who are in charge of the purse, you’ve just passed your first challenge. You probably deserve some kind of award, too.

Even if you are successful in getting to the point where you’re unboxing the shiny new tool you lobbied so hard for, how do you get the rest of your colleagues on board? It’s only going to create more work for them, and at times in the early going, it can be quite the headache. Down the line, automation is going to be the key to solving this dilemma. IT folks are already busy, and many of them won’t see the value in a recovery solution until it’s needed, which, in the majority of cases, is never. Disaster Recovery tools aren’t just expensive, they soak up a lot of manpower and maintenance time.

Once the recovery tool is in place, it needs to be tested on a frequent basis.  IT departments don’t test nearly enough, while some never test their solution at all. Given the rapid acquisition and integration of data, applications, and other mediums, the testing process is invaluable. Automation would be a welcome benefit here as well, as self-testing tools would alleviate IT from this duty and allow them to focus on other high-impact initiatives. There just isn’t the same type of motivation to continually fiddle with something that doesn’t show immediate value.

It’s abundantly clear that in their current form, enterprise Disaster Recovery tools are broken, or maybe its the process. The hurdles that must be cleared in order for deployment are many, and even once a tool is in place, there is just so much work that goes into ensuring proper function. The future of these tools, and maybe the industry in general will be in automation. There’s no question that these tools are important, and can be the difference between a company’s life or death, the relevance of recovery solutions in the future will depend on how much advanced technology can be injected into them.


Tim King
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