Whilst talking to an industry leader in the business continuity management field we uncovered something surprising that made us realise that the widely used term “recovery time” may be misleading.

Now I, and possibly you, will think that recovery time is the time at which you have your IT systems back in a working manner so that your employees can be productive as if there had not been any IT downtime. Sure, there may be longer term repercussions of needing to failback to a more permanent set of systems, but all that can be planned for a time which won’t impact productivity. “Recovery” in my eyes means full recovery, to a point where there is no longer any impact.

The dictionary meaning of the word recovery however is “the process of getting back something lost, especially health, ability, possessions, etc”. This only serves to further confuse the clarity of when the recovery process is considered finished. At what point in the process is something deemed recovered?

So how does this impact the world of business continuity? Being a disaster recovery specialist, one of our main selling features is our recovery time. We have always announced our recovery time as the time taken to get a client productive again, on their systems, with their settings all configured on individual devices. In this way the client can be sure that there is no further loss of productivity. The industry leading company that we spoke to (who I won’t name) had a very different meaning of the term “recovery”. They consider a system recovered once the system has been booted up.

So what’s the difference? Well, once the system has been booted up there’s still a lot of work to do. Ironing out the errors that present themselves on a newly built platform, configuring software packages and configuring each individual computer to work in the way the users can work at full speed again. This adds hours onto the recovery time, all the while meaning your business is running inefficiently and losing money.

The upshot is, look carefully when a company promises you a recovery time. Clarify with them what state you will be in when they class your system as “recovered”. It could save your business, and your job!


By Beth Baxter

Marketing Manager

Plan B Disaster Recovery Ltd