Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>

Gary Audin | September 01, 2017 |


Ready for a Disaster?

Ready for a Disaster? A disaster will occur; it’s how you prepare that makes a difference.

A disaster will occur; it’s how you prepare that makes a difference.

A disaster is an event that causes harm to or loss of life/property. This is what recently happened in Texas and Louisiana when Harvey made landfall. In the case of IT services, a disaster is the loss of access to IT systems and networks. IT systems and networks are so important that their loss can be paralyzing to an organization. Can a disaster be prevented? If not, what can be recovered and how long does it take? Is the recovery delivering everything or just the mission-critical functions?

Defining a Disaster/Recovery
Disaster recovery (D/R) includes policies, procedures, technologies, and tools that enable the recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-created disaster. The focus should be on the IT systems supporting critical business functions.

Business continuity means maintaining essential business elements despite significant disruptive events. D/R is a subset of business continuity.

Disaster Causes Are Everywhere
Internal disasters can be caused by poor design, malicious behavior, negligence, or ignorance. External disasters can be caused by weather, fire, earthquakes, volcanic activity, cyberattacks, and loss of utility services (power). A disaster will occur; it's how you prepare that makes a difference. One of the weakest points in planning for disasters is the set of assumptions you make about what will or will not work. Another erroneous assumption is that the required IT staff is available on-site or can remotely access the systems and network. Those assumptions include factors beyond the scope of the organization affected by the disaster.

Survey Says
CloudEndure recently published it fourth-annual "2017 Disaster Recovery Survey Report ." One interesting conclusion from the survey is that 60% of enterprises surveyed have some form of disaster recovery capability for at least half of their production systems. This means not everyone is planning to back up every function in the business. An important question to answer is, "What functions do not warrant a disaster recovery investment?" The graphics in this blog are from that survey.

Disaster Sources
According to the survey, human errors account for 23% of the top risks to service of availability. The next two common problems are network failures at 17% and external threats at 13%. What I found surprising is cloud provider downtime accounts for 12% of the problems.


IT infrastructure design and operations can create disasters, too. IT may learn that their designs are not effective. I wrote two blogs that provide many instances of the design problems with D/R planning, "Disaster Recovery Duds," and "8 More Disaster Recovery Duds."

Meeting Availability Goals
Availability is that number, 99.XXX%, we all like. Twenty-eight percent of the enterprise respondents reported their goal is 99.999%, 15% have a goal of 99.99%, and 21% have a goal of 99.9%. This does not mean they satisfy their goals, either. A problem with the availability number is that it could be based on multiple short disasters or one huge disaster all producing the same number. Which is it?

As seen in the graphic below, enterprises meet their goals consistently about 41% of the time. Forty-three percent meet the goal most of the time, while 16% meet the goal some of the time or not at all.


Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
You need to establish a recovery point. This is a checkpoint that you periodically store so you can rollback to pre-existing operating condition. The recovery point objective of 6 to 59 minutes is the most common at 26%. What is surprising is that 32% report a RPO of more than one hour, and 10% admit they don't know what their RPO is at all. The greater the RPO, the more information is lost.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
The recovery time objective is the time it takes to get back in business. Only 4% of respondents said they have zero recovery time. (How do they do this?) The vast majority, 30%, expect the recovery time to be from 6 to 59 minutes. Another 21% reported 1 to 6 hours. A total of 26% either don't know their RTO or their RTO is greater than seven hours. The RTO is not the outage time. It is the time after the outage has been resolved to bring systems and networks back into production.

Testing You D/R Solutions
How often do you test your disaster recovery solutions? About 79% conduct disaster recovery drills at least once a year. Twenty-one percent test the D/R plan every few years or don't conduct drills at all. Testing once a year may not be enough. Your network and systems will probably change over the year. The once-a-year test may be testing an old configuration of systems and networks. It may not produce valid results.


Most organizations do not want to test the D/R plan because it interrupts their operations. I came across one case where everyone left the office when they knew that a disaster recovery test was going to be performed. Everyone downloaded their material onto laptops and went home. This did not test a real-world situation. The best test disaster recovery testing should be done without any notification to anyone.

Final Thoughts
When you do your disaster recovery planning, make sure you include non-IT personnel from various business units. You will have to compare the budget for D/R to the possible losses of the organization. Some of the losses may be measured in dollars, while other losses may be measured in reputation or lost opportunities. It can be difficult to convince C-level executives that the budget is adequate for disaster recovery. What are your RPO and RTO?

These are some other No Jitter blogs that can help you think through D/R planning:


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.