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DR plans are common, but disaster recovery tests remain uneven

Though most companies have DR plans in place, confidence in their disaster recovery testing in an emergency remains uneven.

Preparing for possible data center-crippling disasters has always been a difficult chore -- tough enough that some companies simply back-burner their disaster recovery plans and hope no disruptive events occur. Of course, not having some form of DR plan in place -- at least for critical applications -- is just asking for trouble. According to our latest survey data, nearly one-third of companies are rolling the dice as they don't have a DR plan in place.

Among the two-thirds of surveyed companies that do have DR plans, 41% rate their confidence levels as "high" if they have to invoke their plans in the event of emergency. Nearly half (49%) say they are moderately confident about their plans, but they probably still have their fingers crossed. Eight percent say their confidence is low, and the remaining 2% (no confidence) are probably working on their resumes.

A lot of companies -- 60% -- trim their disaster recovery plans down a bit by only including their mission-critical apps for recovery. It's a good approach when you don't have the resources to ensure timely recovery of all apps -- just get the key applications that the company relies on up and running. But no matter how lean your DR plan is, it still needs to be tested from time to time to ensure that it will work as expected. Fifty-seven percent run disaster recovery tests on those plans at least once a year; 28% don't have a set schedule and 4% never test it (they're working on their resumes, too).

For companies that plan on making purchases to build out their DR readiness, disk backup systems, cloud backup services and remote replication top the list. Interestingly, 34% have recently added, or are considering adding, some tape capability to their DR arsenals. So maybe tape isn't all that dead after all. The companies currently involved in DR projects are generally looking to upgrade their current plans: 68% want to improve recovery time and 66% are looking to make their current plans more efficient.

Organizations with DR plans in place
Disaster recovery plan test frequency
Disaster recovery tools and technologies added in last 12 months

One thing hasn't changed much for DR: when it comes to shopping for the parts and services to be used in disaster recovery plans, 72% say price is the most important factor.

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Does your organization currently have a disaster recovery plan in place?
Some interesting statistics here -the fact so many make decisions on cost is frightening. Our recent report highlights similar trends

Cost has always been a key factor for DR/BC planning. A DR plan is essentially an insurance policy, and it can be difficult to convince management to spend money (sometimes a lot of money) on something that--hopefully--will never be used. Regardless of how DR is handled, IT managers will have to reckon with this issue to some degree. (This is often compounded by the cost--in time and money--of testing DR/BC plans.)
Isn't that the common problem - people take backups and design alternate plans, but don't actually do the restore or cut-over?

One of the larger companies I worked with recently did the full DR cut/over - we basically lost 4 business days twice a year. Not great. That's something like all of IT is working on R&D for 2% of the year, which doesn't seem so bad, until you consider it a tax, and also consider the Sarbanes-Oxley tax, the SAS70 tax, and all the other taxes, which, added up, tend to reduce productivity to a crawl ...
That's one of the most attractive features of Cloud-based DR--in many cases, you can do fairly comprehensive testing without taking production systems offline.

If you have a plan but don't test it, you might as well not have a plan. You don't want to have a disaster, go to restore, and find out there's nothing there.
Only just found this article some interesting points and survey results. from what I've observed when it comes to infrastructure change ensuring that DR planning is formalised is often a low. That stated the annual DR test is not the only way of getting confidence in DR capability. There can also be confidence through the performance of failover and backup and event response all part of business as usual. No doubt an annual test should be a base standard.

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