Top 10 Reasons Disaster Recovery Plans Fail
At Cavan Group we know how critically important disaster recovery planning is. We live it everyday, working with our clients to ensure they are well prepared should a disaster occur affecting information technology. Many companies feel they are ready, until there is actually a disaster. That’s when they learn what was actually missing from their planning, and frankly that’s usually when they call us.
We find that there are 10 reasons disaster recovery plans fail. Avoiding all of these can help ensure success with your company’s plan.
1) The disaster recovery plan is never communicated correctly, or in some cases never communicated at all. This happens when companies create a plan only because they are required to by some kind of mandate, like to get approval in an audit. As a result the plan is somewhat meaningless and no one has a copy or is even aware there is a plan.
2) The plan is considered “shelfware.” Unlike #1, there is a written plan, but it was created and put on a shelf, never distributed, discussed or updated. And perhaps most importantly, it was never tested. So in this case your company has a plan but has no idea if it will work. And in our experience, this always means it will not.
3) Often disaster recovery doesn’t include consideration for actual production. There is no mechanism in place to ensure that disaster recovery can support a company’s production. Disaster recovery must have parity in compute, storage and capability and if it doesn’t, the plan if implemented can run into trouble very quickly.
4) There is too much detail in the plan. An overly complex recovery plan can be a real problem when the moment comes to use it. In times of real crisis, plans need to be crisp, familiar and actionable. It’s been proven that too many tables, look-ups and references won’t work. The best disaster recovery plan is one that can easily be used by knowledgeable people to guide them through a failover/recovery.
5) Too little detail. Obviously this is the opposite of number 4. It’s equally problematic when there is not enough information in the disaster recovery plan. When it’s too high level and doesn’t go deep enough, it can’t succeed in allowing a company to execute a timely recovery.
6) Failure to have a back-up power plan. Many companies have a disaster recovery plan, which would allow a failover to be accomplished, but in the new environment there is not sufficient power for the load.
7) Insufficient back-up in the plan. You plan will certainly run into trouble when there are inadequacies in capacity, capability and/or availability of back-ups.
8) A lack of understanding of the business continuity plan could create a disconnect rendering your disaster recovery a failure. In other words, the disaster recovery plan might not meet the needs of the business itself in areas like timing, capacity, location and availability etc.
9) No consideration for how staff will function during the disaster recovery. It’s important to have a plan, but a real problem when your staff is not trained to fill in or handle other duties during a recovery.
10) And finally, it can mean failure when your disaster recovery training differs radically from the actual disaster recovery. This can happen when the training exercise is not sufficient for either training or testing the validity of a disaster recovery effort. In disaster recovery, it’s important to “train like you fight, and fight like you train.”
At Cavan Group, we take disaster recovery very seriously and work carefully with our clients to avoid all of these causes of disaster recovery failure.