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What are the five best ways to get management on board with DR?

Paul Kirvan says that reminding senior management of the last disaster and impact to the organization is one way to get upper management buy-in for DR.

Assuming an organization has experienced some sort of technology disruption in the past several years, there should...

be no problem reminding senior management of that event and the impact to the organization. Then describe the benefits of a DR program (e.g., how the previous event might have turned out differently). If there is no prior history of a technology disruption (hard to imagine in this day and age) then here are some ways to get management buy-in:

  1. Enlist the help of the IT department. Have senior technical staff join you in a briefing to senior management. Hopefully, the IT people can help make the case for a DR program.
  2. Provide examples of how other organizations have benefited from a DR program, especially those who have prevented or mitigated the impact of an event.
  3. Partner with an experienced consultant who has worked with other clients and has participated in disaster events that were mitigated with DR plans.
  4. Partner with a vendor that offers DR services, especially managed DR services, and then make the point that managed DR services will be non-intrusive, will not impact daily IT operations, and can be activated almost instantly to protect the organization's IT infrastructure.
  5. Underscore the value of a DR program by describing the financial implications if certain critical systems were disabled, describing the implications if email was unavailable; describing the competitive and reputational implications if the company was unable to use its primary IT system; and describing the operational implications if systems were unavailable.

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5 is crucial. If you don't explain things in business terms -- "The NAS won't be able to talk to the SAN!" or whatever -- the business people will not get it and will tune you out. "We lose $2 million for every day we're offline" -- that's something they'll be able to relate to.