Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Disaster Recovery is…. Boring!

Let’s face it. Disaster Recovery – at least the portion that IT is involved with – is boring. There’s no dramatic TV footage (we hope!), no flashing lights, no daring helicopter rescues and no one shouting “Clear!” as the patient is shocked back to life… In other words, there is nothing about an IT recovery that is very interesting at all to a majority of the general population.

Unfortunately, this does not help prepare the client or end-user to connect a disaster event with a subsequent IT service outage. “Sure there was a class 5 hurricane, but why doesn’t the damn ATM work?” may be the prevalent attitude. Now, that is not to say that those who experienced the disaster first hand and can actually see damaged infrastructure will share in this perception; but for individuals who reside in a different state and did not experience the event first hand – there is no intuitive reason to link the effect – the IT service outage, with the disaster itself.

So, ‘why doesn’t the damn ATM work?’ The only truly acceptable answer is “it should.”

In general, IT services are perceived as a utility function. And just like any other utility – they are supposed to work. Just as when you ‘throw the switch’ there is an expectation that the light will come on, the ATM, email server, or airline reservation system is just supposed to work. Period.

It is the industry’s realization of this that has been leading the paradigm shift from Disaster Recovery to Business Continuity.

There is simply no such thing as an instantaneous Disaster Recovery event. Business Continuity, on the other hand, is implemented to continue the delivery of critical IT services when the normal IT infrastructure has suffered a catastrophic failure.

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