As someone who has been in this business for over two decades, part of my job as I see it involves keeping up with all of the latest trends, tips and best practices that I can then pass on to my own clients. As a part of this kind of continuing education, I came across a study the other day that made my blood pressure spike.
As per Gartner, only about 35% of SMBs currently have some type of comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. The rest are totally unprepared – and often unaware – of the risks they’re leaving themselves exposed to.
So based on that, I picked up the phone and gave a few industry associates a call – people I know from my work with engineering firms in the area but who Bourn Technology doesn’t, as of yet, provide these types of services to. I did a little “informal survey” of my own and while mine certainly wasn’t as comprehensive as Gartner’s…
… what I found more or less lined up with that statistic.
To put it mildly, this is a grave mistake to make – ESPECIALLY if you’re at the head of something like an engineering firm. In my opinion, you can NEVER take your disaster recovery efforts too seriously and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.
Understanding Disaster Recovery Means Understanding Why Disasters Happen
In order to truly understand how seriously you should be taking your disaster recovery efforts as an engineering firm, you must first understand exactly why these types of situations happen in the first place.
By far, the most common reason that unplanned downtime and similar types of disasters occur has to do with hardware failure, according to one recent study.
The reason for those types of hardware failures, you ask? That’s simple – many organizations are hanging onto legacy hardware and other technologies far past their “expiration date” and sooner rather than later are paying the price accordingly.
In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much you can do to totally eliminate the risk of hardware failure. If something has a moving part inside, that part is eventually going to give out on you. That’s just the kind of thing that happens when you’re talking about something as malleable as technology.
Having said that, implementing modern technology with the help of a partner like a managed services provider can help mitigate that risk in a very important way. But even going beyond that, it can help make sure that even when hardware failure does occur, you are not affected by it in the way that you otherwise would be.
It’s that last point – that perspective – that is critical for your engineering firm to understand.
When you make the decision to back up your engineering firm’s data off-site and in the cloud, you’re mitigating risk from certain types of disasters that are likely to occur. Hardware failure is chief among them. Backing up your data often is of paramount importance, yes – but you need to be taking where that data is backed up equally seriously.
Imagine two different engineering firms, one who has backed up their data on-site using internal hardware and one who has backed up in at least one off-site location by way of the cloud.
Now, think about the various types of disasters that you might experience. Your office could suffer a total power outage or get flooded during a storm. You could be the victim of a break-in or burglary. Your office could burn to the ground because Shelly from Accounting left the coffee pot on and went home for the weekend. Things happen.
The first engineering firm is done – all of their data is gone, probably forever. The second engineering firm is inconvenienced, sure – but they’re also in a position to quickly get back up and running again like nothing ever happened.
In the event that you’re of the opinion that these are the types of situations that are so unlikely that you don’t really have to worry about them, you might want to think again. According to another study, more than half of all companies in the last five years experienced at least one downtime-related event that lasted for more than eight hours. Just 2% of those organizations were able to recover from their incident in less than one hour.
In terms of the trifecta of why these types of events are occurring, studies show that:
- 35% of these types of incidents are caused by natural disasters.
- A massive 45% are operational (see: hardware failure).
- Another 19% are due to human error.
- All told, site outages tend to cost the average business about $20,000 for every day of downtime.
Make absolutely no mistake about it: this is one of those situations where the statistics are not on your side. As an engineering firm in particular, that should mean something to you.
In the end, this is exactly why you can NEVER take disaster recovery too seriously for your business. You can’t control Mother Nature – if you’re going to get hit with a massive storm, you’re going to get hit with a massive storm. You can’t control operational issues – in terms of technology, Murphy’s Law will always be the order of the day. You can’t even control Shelly from Accounting (although seriously, someone should have a talk with her. This is the third time this month).
What you CAN control is how prepared you are for all of these types of situations and that is what disaster recovery is all about.