Decision Makers Divided: Speed of Recovery vs. Loss of Business Activity


While the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by emerging technologies that have the potential to make our lives easier, the fact remains safeguarding business-critical data hasn't become any easier, primarily due to resource constraints, high backup acquisition and support costs, and the multiple backup tools most use  to protect complex infrastructures.

Previous research conducted by Kroll Ontrack showed that 56% of businesses use two or more solutions to manage their backups, muddying data management and adding to the complexity they’re trying to solve. And, while backup infrastructures have become more complex, the tolerance for downtime has diminished. Gone are the days where businesses can withstand losing hours’ worth of data. Our new survey of 759 global IT decision makers affirmed this, revealing 93% believe their organization could only tolerate “minimal” (if any) data loss from critical business applications while nearly half cite having less than an hour to recover before it starts impacting revenue.

Industry analyst firm ESG agrees. They found that over half of midsize and enterprise organizations have a downtime tolerance of less than one hour for high priority applications, and intended recovery times of two hours or less for production systems.

Balancing act: cost of disaster recovery and the financial impact of an outage

Our survey shows IT decision makers are divided on the importance of recovery speed versus the extent to which business activity is lost, with only half stating both are of equal importance in recovery efforts. Significantly, a quarter of respondents indicate the speed of getting back online is of more importance than how much data they actually lose, despite very few stating their business could withstand more than eight hours of business inactivity. So, why the disparity?

For many, aligning RTOs and RPOs is just too costly, particularly across tiered systems and applications. In fact, shortening these to minutes is often unachievable for all but the largest of enterprises. However, it can be argued the rise of cloud democratizes these efforts, giving organizations access to cloud-based and cloud-native backup and disaster recovery as a service (BaaS/DRaaS) solutions that bring value, affordability and economies of scale. This balance between the cost of disaster recovery and the impact of an outage is one all organizations must carefully address.

Impact of lights flickering vs. full-on power outage

Unfortunately, backup alone isn’t enough to ensure business continuity. IT leaders are challenging their teams to look beyond backup-as-usual and develop a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy to protect mission- and business-critical applications as well as secondary data and systems – often with “cloud-first” or “cloud-only” policies. IT teams are charged with seeking out new solutions that can take them from the chaos and uncertainty of disaster to nothing more than a glitch - a scenario akin to lights flickering rather than a power outage.

Increase your resiliency

The amount of business activity lost is equally, if not more important, to the speed at which you get your systems back online. Take these three practical steps to strike the balance between the cost of disaster recovery and the financial impacts of an outage:

  1. Create your risk profile – This describes the level of risk your organization can withstand across each of its systems and applications, in addition to the threats you’re likely to encounter. Simply put, companies that don’t understand their risk cannot effectively understand their operational strengths or how downtime will impact business operations.
  2. Understand your SLAs and make sure they’re aligned with technology and business objectives - Misalignment can wreak havoc on the quality of your service delivery and thus, your customer’s experience should a downtime event occur. As your business needs change, so should your SLAs.
  3. Change your mindset - Reducing your RPOs is a critical step to avoiding IT disasters altogether. Many companies have made great strides in reducing their recovery times, or the length of time it takes to get back online after an interruption; but, the real challenge is reconciling the amount of data lost. Restoring mission-critical systems in minutes is counterproductive if data is hours – or even days – old. Ensure your RTOs and RPOs are in alignment to meet your disaster recovery needs.