Is your business prepared for unplanned downtime? Posted on August 8, 2017 by Tim Burke Your answer may depend on your job title. In one recent survey, 70% of C-level executives declared their firms “very prepared” – but fewer than half of the IT people at those same companies agreed. Uh oh. Such a gap between C-level and IT staff perceptions can lead to uneven C-level support for business continuity/disaster recovery planning – which leaves the business vulnerable to unplanned downtime. The painful costs of “incidents” And unplanned downtime isn’t cheap. Fully 56% of those dealing with a major incident suffered financial loss. For upwards of 30%, recovery affected the business and consumed staff time. And 10% permanently lost data, applications, or systems. Among smaller and midsize businesses (1-150 employees), almost half estimate that just one hour of unplanned downtime can cost $100,000 in lost revenue and end-user productivity – a price tag that does not include remedial actions by IT or costs associated with non-compliance penalties and litigation. What IT people see: digital business complexity Unlike C-level execs, those in the IT trenches experience the day-to-day impacts of accelerating reliance on ever more complex and interdependent technologies. (No surprise, then, that 82% of unplanned downtime can be attributed to application failures, hardware failures, or operational errors. Cyberattacks still account for only 13% of downtime; note, however, that this represents a 200% jump in two years as bad actors exploit gaps between current technologies and people’s understanding of them.) Thus, 80% of organizations now demand a minimum of 99.99% availability – i.e., just 4.33 minutes of unplanned monthly outage – and more and more data and systems are considered mission-critical (30%) or business-critical (34%). Also, the need for continuously available web services is changing how we regard RTOs (recovery time objectives) and RPOs (recovery point objectives). Meanwhile, in 60% of organizations, server footprints are flat or shrinking, thanks to performance improvements at the processor level and expanding adoption of both server virtualization and cloud computing. So what helps IT people feel prepared? IT professionals confident in their organization’s ability to cope with an incident cite two key contributors: Clearly defined DR compliance requirements; those who have developed compliance requirements tend to (a) have a disaster recovery plan in place and (b) recover more quickly from a major incident. Commitment to a multi-site IT resilience strategy; 68% of those with such a strategy are confident that their applications, networks, and IT services will function as expected in an outage. A multi-site IT resilience strategy can take several forms, including moving IT infrastructure to a managed service provider’s environment and using Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). In my next post, I’ll take a look at the business continuity/disaster recovery best practices that can help you avoid unplanned downtime – beginning with the basics.