What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery is a service that allows organisations to continue operating after a disaster or a disruption. The aim is to ensure that key personnel have access to the organisations’ computer systems and critical information in the event that, either by natural or human intervention or even by a computer virus, a company can’t continue functioning as normal.
Naturally it the event of a disaster it is not just the network that needs to be recovered, but also several other systems and processes. That is known as business continuity and is not covered here.
To illustrate, a taxi driver’s only way of generating an income is by driving his taxi. Every year he pays an insurance policy that ensures that in the event that his car is stolen, has a crash or the car is somehow immobilised, he can still have access to a loan car of some kind. This ensures that while his car is being replaced or repaired, he can still earn a living. He hopes that he will never have to use this policy but it is an important safeguard.
Disaster recovery plans are often seen as a subset of business continuity planning which is a process and contingency plan that has to be drafted in order to ensure that a business can continue to operate if a disaster occurs.
While the notion of disaster recovery seems quite dramatic, a disaster as outlined above can be anything from an earthquake, fire or flood, to malicious damage caused by a computer virus. There have also been instances of damage caused by disgruntles employees and by thieves.
It’s easy to see why Disaster Recovery [DR] is seen as an insurance policy and there is far more to it than just a plan. Many vendors, often of Storage technologies, provide disaster recovery solutions and these are a few that operate in the DR space: Symantec, EMC, Acronis, Double Take Software, Plan B [great name], HP and the NeverFail Group.
The Future of Disaster Recovery
The market for disaster recovery services is continuing to grow. Catalysts such as the events of 9/11 and terrorist attacks in the UK make companies increasingly aware of how potentially vulnerable there are. The market for disaster recovery services has always been healthy in the UK primarily because of potential attacks by the IRA and other terrorist organisations in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Terrorism is not the single driver here, there have been issues based around floods, major power outages and in some countries, earthquakes and hurricanes. We often read of natural disasters both in the UK and globally, so it does demonstrate that a contingency plan is needed for all organisations.
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