Got DRaaS and/or managed service DR? Pay attention to BC/DR plan updating anyway Posted on September 21, 2017 by Tim Burke Disaster Recovery as a Service is fast becoming a business essential as it’s implemented in more and more enterprise multi-site resilience strategies. Hardly surprising, since DRaaS simplifies recovery operations by combining protection, orchestration, and automation. But DRaaS simplicity and ease-of-use might have a downside, too, because those deploying DRaaS can be lulled into neglect of their BC/DR plan testing and updating. And, DRaaS notwithstanding, BC/DR plan testing and updating still remains the best way to ensure business continuity and disaster preparedness. BC/DR plan testing and updating declines . . . Given the breakneck pace of business and IT change, most enterprises large and small ought to be doing continuous DR plan updating. But the latest Forrester/Disaster Recovery Journal research reveals that just 43% of organizations run a full DR plan test even once, and only 19% run a full test twice a year or more. Most notable of all, that 19% represents a significant decline (of 11%) compared to the previous Forrester/DRJ study in 2015. Similarly, the number of organizations doing continuous DR plan updating has dropped from 35% (in 2015) to only 14%. . . . As multi-site resilience strategies take hold DRaaS may not be the only culprit in convincing so many organizations that they no longer need bother with BC/DR plan testing and updating. Besides DRaaS, other suspects include co-location recovery sites (used by 37% of companies surveyed by Forrester/DRJ), shared service provider infrastructure (used by 20%), and various other cloud services. Also, many (53% of those surveyed by Forrester/DRJ) use synchronous replication to protect mission-critical systems and have deployed active-active data center configurations (40%) – meaning they use both their primary data centers and their recovery sites as production sites, each acting as a failover site for the other. Thus, as another study reports, IT execs whose enterprises use DRaaS or a managed service provider tend to feel better prepared to face down an “event.” BC/DR plan testing and updating still core Certainly, compared to the infamous vagaries of backup tape drives (which, by the way, still account for a third to upwards of 40% of backups, depending on which survey you consult), the cloud, automated replication, and live application failover have teamed up to take much of the sting out of data backup and recovery. But don’t be fooled. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning, testing, and updating remain core business functions that no enterprise can afford to ignore – unless, of course, that enterprise experiences utterly no change to its business conditions or the technologies it uses. If your enterprise does experience change, you’ll need to regularly test and update your business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Bring in a trusted, experienced technology consultant to help you do it right before you have regrets.