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Need a business disaster recovery plan? You're not alone

Many companies either don’t see the need for a business disaster recovery plan or haven’t allocated enough resources to create a good DR plan.

Bob Dylan once sang, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," but massive snow storms, annual hurricanes, earthquakes and plagues of locusts haven't convinced some companies that they should have a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. In our latest survey, just slightly less than a third of respondents still don't know which way the wind blows, as they fessed up to not having a business disaster recovery plan. That leaves them vulnerable to the above-mentioned meteorological misfortunes, but also to someone tripping over their SAN array's power cord or Bob the server admin spilling his latte on that 24-core server hosting half the company's VMs.

At least most disaster recovery plan-less companies are aware of their shortcoming. Thirty-nine percent say they're developing a plan now -- which is kind of like the old "check is in the mail" excuse. And speaking of checks, 26% say they simply lack the funds to put together a plan -- which seems to be a lot better excuse than the "haven't gotten around to it" explanation volunteered by 29% of respondents.

On the flip side, companies that have made an investment in a disaster recovery plan for their business -- and have hopefully tested it -- feel pretty good about the recovery strategies they've developed. Forty-one percent rated their confidence level as "high" that their plans would work in an emergency situation, and another 49% expressed "moderate" confidence in their plans. Only 2% said they have "no confidence" in their business disaster recovery plan, and we assume they're also updating their resumes.

Graph: reasons for not having a DR plan
Graph: levels of confidence in DR plan
Tech in DR plan
Judging DR products

It's not a big surprise that the most-used tech tool for DR is disk-based backup, followed closely by remote replication that ships those backups to a remote recovery site. While those two techs top the popularity list, a technology that has been reputed to be dead for years takes the next two places: tape. Forty-three percent said their plans include the use of off-site tape storage, while 41% just cited "tape backup" as a component of their recovery plans. Cloud-based DR -- possibly the biggest buzz in the disaster recovery world these days -- was represented by 28% who said they tap cloud backup services for disaster recovery readiness.

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Next Steps

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Why don't you have a business disaster recovery plan?
Hi Rich! Thanks for the article. Could you share details on the survey respondents: number, profiles, geographies, etc? 
Yep, no surprise. I think that it takes a conservative, responsible approach towards management for a company to be willing to invest the funds in DR. Unfortunately not many companies seem to take this approach.
Often,the companies that are the most avid advocates of DR planning and are best at are those that got caught without one--and paid the price.  ;-)

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