IT infrastructure: risks of not being prepared for a disaster
Most companies are highly reliant on their data and information technology infrastructure; this dependence implies that any kind of trouble can hit businesses. Company’s IT environment is becoming more complex, so the number of cases of infrastructure failure due to external and internal threats is increasing. A growing number of companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the need for Disaster Recovery solution to provide IT Resilience and Business Continuity.
The global Disaster Recovery solutions market size was valued at USD 1.68bn in 2016 and is expected to gain significant growth to USD 11.11bn by 2021, mounting at a CAGR of 45.9%. 
The importance of a Disaster Recovery cannot be overstated; even a short downtime can affect competitiveness.
The most frequent indicators why Disaster Recovery should be a priority of any company
Consider these situations that could strike your business:
1. Natural disaster
Nature is unpredictable, so natural disasters like storms, fires and floods can irreparably damage your business. Businesses that have failed to plan for disaster recovery can find it almost impossible to resume operations after a major disaster hits. Recognizing the possible natural disasters that can happen in your area is the first step toward creating an effective disaster recovery strategy.
2. Human error
It is not a secret that people make different kinds of mistakes during daily operations, overlooking important aspects that lead to critical data loss. The only way to keep data safe from a data loss due to human error is to backup data regularly.
3. IT system failure (hardware or network failure, software error, power outages)
When IT infrastructure fails, all critical data and workloads can be damaged or lost. While you can take steps to protect your equipment with cooling systems, surge protectors and other technologies, it is important to backup your data regularly. Using cloud or off-site storage can empower protection measures, as it is less likely that both locations will be hit at the same time. Software applications are not 100% reliable, at the same time stable access to software that performs critical business functions is clearly important. Disaster Recovery solutions are intended to help companies to cope with such challenges without stopping production.
4. Virus attack or cyber crimes
As the number of cyberattacks increases, so does the damage they cause. Attackers and viruses could capture, damage or destroy critical data, that always influences company’s productivity and cause massive profit losses. Cyber attacks could lead not only to financial losses, but also damage business reputation and customer loyalty. Preventing cyber attacks enables companies to save money and to avoid devastating impact.
Businesses that are not prepared for potential disaster face a huge variety of risks
Without a Disaster Recovery strategy, a business remains vulnerable to data loss. Many companies overlook the key aspects of data protection, which subsequently lead to serious consequences and push the business to a critical level.
1. Productivity loss
An effective Disaster Recovery plan keeps business operating – no matter what the reason of data loss is, either it is some kind of natural disasters or power outages.
RTO and RPO values are two key indicators of Disaster Recovery that affect business productivity in case of interruption. An effective Disaster Recovery solution should provide minimal RTO/RPO and resume company’s productivity in seconds or minutes without stopping production.
2. Permanent data loss
Permanent data loss can be devastating for a company, especially if it involves crucial data and destroys business productivity. Without a Disaster Recovery plan you may not be able to restore any business applications and workloads. Disaster Recovery solution is intended to prevent this kind of risk by consistent replication of critical data and whole IT infrastructure to a DR site, and launching failover from one of the restore points. Automatic failovers that run by schedule ensure business continuity without any data loss. All businesses can protect IT infrastructure and restore data quickly after any disaster by having an effective Backup or Disaster Recovery plan in place.
3. Financial threats
Most disasters conventionally cause various kinds of financial loss.
Unscheduled attempts to recover damaged or lost data in a short time result in considerable expenditure. Disaster Recovery plan enables companies to prepare for a possible data loss, to act quickly without scaling up a recovery process budget and to limit the extent of the damage. Also financial loss is inevitable when business productivity suffers from any data loss.
4. Customer loss
The average customer today expects to get service 24/7/365. It means that if your company is facing any number of threats listed above and has some productivity losses, customers could turn to a competitor. Disaster Recovery strategy enables your company to stay within industry standards in the event of failure, to preserve its professional reputation and reduce churn.
5. Business failure
An information technology disaster and data loss can strike any business anytime, and the costs to recover from such an event without a Disaster Recovery plan can be tremendous. A massive and wide-spread disruption in IT environment can truly lead a business to devastating effect. Productivity interruptions have the most dangerous destroying impact on small and medium business.
6. Issues with reputation
For a long time reputation risks were not given due attention, but now this view has been gradually changing, and the concept of reputational risk has become one of the most decisive business issues such as finance, production or office administration. Every company is reliant on IT processes for its business operating; various productivity interruptions or data loss violate customer’s services and damages reputation. The reputational loss can be felt for a business for months or even years, in this vein RTO values assume a key role for company stability. Reputational risks create significant challenges in customer acquisition.
It is not always possible for small business or even enterprise companies to prevent technological disasters and disruption of IT infrastructure. Serious IT failures in recent history have affected some of the biggest companies and millions of customers around the world.
- GitLab experienced downtime due to a sysadmin error in January 2017, 300GB of data were accidently deleted.
- In March 2017 Amazon’s massive AWS outage was caused by human error that took down a bunch of large internet sites for several hours.
- In April 2018 millions of TSB customers were locked out of their accounts two weeks after the initial outage.
- Google Cloud Platform outage was reported in June 2019 and lead to 4 hours downtime. Multiple Google services were inoperable or showed slow performance or intermittent errors.
- British Airways flights were disrupted by IT failures in August 2019 that caused over 100 flight to be cancelled and over 200 others to be delayed.
Natural disasters, electronic failures, virus attacks, cyber crimes and human errors happen and go out of our control.
Without providing IT Resilience and Business Continuity, a business remains vulnerable to data loss and downtime. Many companies neglect the basic rules of IT infrastructure protection, which leads to profound implications: productivity interruption, permanent data loss, financial damage, loss of reputation and customer trust. It is more appropriate to prevent any data loss by an effective Disaster Recovery strategy than to eliminate the consequences.
Read how to create a successful digital transformation strategy in our previous article.
CEO and Co-Founder at Hystax (hystax.com)