GETTING EXECUTIVE SUPPORT
10Reasons Your Boss Should Invest in a DR Plan
By ROBIN HOWARD
Do you remember the old mob movies where the gangster extorts money fromthe business owner in exchange for protec- tion?
“What if I don’t pay?” he asks.
“Well then, I can’t promise that something bad won’t happen to you,” the mobster replies, pounding his fist into his palm
It reminds me of the time I had to convince my boss that we needed to throw
down some cash on a disaster recovery
system. He wanted a good reason why
he should pay for it, and the best answer
I could manage at the time was, “Well,
something bad might happen if you don’t.”
However, it turns out that argument only
works in the movies.
Since then I’ve worked on my argument, which I will share with you so you
don’t have to deliver vague threats in a
bad Brooklyn accent when you make your
own case (unless you’re from Brooklyn,
and then by all means, use that accent).
Time is money. More directly, downtime is lost money. Gartner
reports that the average company loses
$40,000 for every hour that users can’t
get to data and applications that run the
business. How much money can you
afford to lose?
Data loss is dangerous. The data on your servers isn’t just bits and bytes –
it’s the physical manifestation of your
company’s ideas and hard work. How
much vision and hard work can you
afford to lose?
Downtime is frustrating for
everyone, from the office manager to
the CEO, and these days it’s completely
unnecessary. If you’ve never seen an
office full of people who can’t do what
they’d planned to do that day so they
don’t get further behind, you don’t want
Your reputation is at risk. For every minute that your server is down there
is a customer out there not buying your
widget, not getting technical support or
customer service, and generally losing
faith in your company.
It will happen to you. The Small Business Administration puts
businesses in two categories: those
who have experienced downtime from a
disaster or outage and those who will.
There’s no reason to make life hard for IT staff. IT staff have families
and lives outside of work, too. It’s not
necessary that they spend the night in
the server room trying to restore from
sketchy tapes, or leave their brother’s
wedding because the server went
down on a Saturday night (true story).
These days, DR software can monitor
the production server and failover to a
backup server if it detects an outage
-- with zero interruption to users.
Depending on your industry, data protection might be required by law.
If you’re regulated by any government
organization, it’s likely you’ll need
to provide complete IT records on
demand. Try telling the FDA that
you can’t produce e-mail records for
June 11, 2007, because somebody
accidently spilled a Big Gulp on the
production server (another true story).
Trust me, they don’t care.
Justifying expenditures to management
wasn’t easy five years ago, much less
today when everyone’s budget has been
slashed and burned. If your management
is resisting a DR plan, they may be thinking of the days when it involved expensive
equipment and boxes of fragile tapes that
had to be shuttled around and protected
like a bunch of show dogs.
These days DR plans cost a fraction
of what an hour of downtime would cost,
there’s no equipment required except an
extra server (any make and model will
do), and it’s fast and simple to set up. That
small investment will protect more than
just your servers; you’ll protect your hard
work, reputation, peace of mind, and quite
possibly the future of your business.
Robin Howard is a technology anthropologist, writer, and editor at large for Double-