Disaster recovery is likely on the lips of many business owners as the threat of loadshedding continues to grip the country.

Upgrades to loadshedding’s severity are often made mere moments before the lights go out and when the power goes out data can be lost.

Unfortunately for business owners, the lights going out are among the less severe business continuity risks. Cybercrime is on the rise and ransomware attacks can cripple your business.

With data becoming so intrinsic to business, having a disaster recovery plan in place is essential. But how long should it take to recover from a disaster?

According to managing director at Gabsten Technologies, Hemant Harie, the answer to the question falls into a similar realm to “how long is a piece of string?”.

Hemant Harie, MD at Gabsten Technologies.

“The time it takes to recover from a disaster depends on the nature of the disaster and the impact of numerous variables from enterprise down to divisional level. Factors that affect recovery include the volume of data to be recovered, what infrastructure needs to be configured for data to be activated, the location of the backup data and connectivity,” explains Harie.

Part of developing a disaster recovery plan also involves determining how long your business can survive without access to data.

The MD says that business owners should take a bird’s-eye view of the businesss and access the infrastructure, data types and data volumes critical for business continuity. From there it will be easier to implement the redundancies needed.

“An acceptable time frame for recovery also depends on the data that has been lost or compromised as well as the nature of the enterprise. Some businesses can survive up to 72 hours without access to certain data, while other businesses need to be up and running within just a few hours of an event,” explains Harie.

“There are not many businesses that can survive longer than a few days without their data and if recovery cannot be completed in time, there is a real risk that business continuity will be severely impacted,” he adds.

Many business owners have embraced the cloud. The prospect of always-on and always available data services is fantastic but Harie advises against putting all of your eggs in one basked.

“Depending on the nature of business data being stored, an organisation may need to ensure that their cloud data is replicated at multiple sites to ensure availability even if the provider experiences an incident. If secondary location replication is not affordable or not deemed necessary, organisations need to prioritise data in order to ensure that data can be recovered in the right manner to restore business as soon as possible,” the MD explains.

Throughout 2019 we have seen enterprises embrace a hybrid cloud model where cloud providers and on-prem solutions are deployed simultaneously. While this has mainly been for cloud-based applications, a similar approach would prove valuable in respect of disaster recovery.

The more options available to restore business continuity in the event of a disaster is a good thing and insures that even if your cloud storage provider is down, you can still do business.

Above all else, Harie advises business test their recovery time objects to be prepared when a disaster hits.

“Testing your recovery time objectives is also critical so that in the event of an actual disaster the process is effective and can run smoothly. If a plan is in place and has never been tested, when a disaster strikes businesses may find themselves in trouble. Effective disaster recovery ultimately comes down to planning, understanding your data, and above all being fully prepared for when, not if, a disaster will occur,” the MD concludes.

With several businesses getting ready to close for December, perhaps testing your disaster recovery processes should be top of the list, lest you wish to return to nothing in the new year.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]