If you’re responsible for the IT systems or operations of your business then you’re the best person to know the importance of minimising your IT downtime for your company. Whether you’re a business that can continue to deliver for clients without an IT system, or whether it is critical to your daily service delivery, you’ll have spent time weighing up the importance of business and IT continuity.

We talk to many IT and operations directors who feel that maintaining IT uptime is critical to their business, but they are equally aware that they don’t have the resilience within their systems that they would like, to ensure maximum uptime. This is normally due to lack of budget which results in a less than adequate disaster recovery solution. This lack of budget typically comes from the finance or executive team, so how can you start to convince the executive team that this really is something worth investing in?

  1. Insist on carrying out a full end to end disaster recovery exercise. But most importantly, involve the board in this exercise. Book it in for a time where you won’t cause maximum disruption but do it at a time when people are at work to feel the real impact of a disaster. Ensure you make the executive board aware of your RTO and RPO objectives and keep a record of the time taken to recover your systems, and the amount of data lost so you can see if you meet your targets. In addition, keep a full log of the issues you come across, and what improvements you would make to improve your business continuity. What percentage of your staff can be 100% productive at what stages in the recovery? And do your RTO’s and RPO’s meet the objectives of the business and the board? It’s worth doing a full report which you can discuss with the executive team.
  2. Calculate the cost of IT downtime to your business using our simple IT downtime calculator. The best way to convince a financial director is to talk figures. Based on research carried out, a typically company with 100 employees is going to spend £1.4 million on IT downtime each year. If you can justify reducing your IT downtime in a cost effective way then this gives you a strong business case. You’ll therefore need to go a step further in presenting a disaster recovery solution, calculating how much downtime it will save you and the cost, so showing a true saving to your business. Plan B is always happy to help you to calculate this.
  3. Calculate the cost and time savings of outsourcing your disaster recovery. Include regular DR tests and full invocation exercises, maintenance or equipment and services, capital costs and resource time to provide the level of resilience you want to achieve within the business. It’s often surprising how expensive it can be to manage your disaster recovery in-house. You can also compare the service you will receive in terms of reliability of systems, testing regimes and guarantees/SLA’s.
  4. Invite your executive team to listen to a specialist review your business continuity plan. Although the board has recruited you to provide the best advice for the business, sometimes it helps to have an external specialist in to help discuss your business, review the latest technologies available, and give you a feel of what the rest market is doing. Support from someone who understands your pain will often help to convince others that this is more of a priority that they first though.  If the optimal solution is not within budget then maybe you’ll at least have backing for a solution that will be an improvement. They’ll thank you when you do have an IT disaster.

The biggest preventative to good business continuity planning is often priority for the budget. Companies that have not felt the true impact of an IT outage often think themselves lucky and that they can go a bit longer without investing. However, when will your luck run out and haven’t you already saved yourself enough money to now afford a strong disaster recovery plan?  The trick is in convincing your peers.

Read our whitepaper on Pre-recovery – what is it and how is it helping businesses to save money on their disaster recovery solution?