How fast can you recover from a data disaster?

Small and medium businesses often overlook the cost of recovering from a disaster when implementing their data storage and recovery plans. More often than most people would care to admit, critical data backups are stored to physical media, with little or no contingency plan in case of major disaster.

If these same companies were to calculate the costs of restoring their data, they might realize the importance of having a contingency plan in place. How does one go about determining the cost of restoring data?

Formula for Calculating Cost

Calculating the cost of downtime involves more than just calculating lost man hours. There are clients to be considered, revenue loss to be counted, and irreplaceable data to be accounted for.
The following formula is a basic way to estimate the cost of downtime per hour lost:

Cost per Data Loss Incident = (Timeoutage + Timesince) x (Timerate + Revenuelost)
Timeoutage = The duration of the outage in hours
Timesince = Length of time since last backup
Timerate = This is the hourly cost of all departments and personnel
Revenuelost = Estimate the hourly revenue lost. Use the average over 3 months divided by hours worked over three months as a guide.

Some experts have estimated that an outage costs companies between $300 and $800 per computer per incident.
A company with fifty workstations might face a $40,000 downtime cost. Not to mention the value of the lost credibility, due to unmet deadlines time and clients being forced to wait.

Time to Recover

How fast a company recovers from a data emergency is entirely dependent on the data storage system used, and the recovery process they have in place. Companies who store their data backups at a single onsite location face the risk of not recovering the data at all in the event of a major incident. Companies who rely on tape backups and store them offsite must count the time it takes to retrieve the tapes and reinstall the data. Additionally, the integrity of the data has to be checked as tape backups have been known to fail often. This is why online backup solutions have become so popular in recent years. These digital copies are much more reliable since they are stored off-site, and eliminate the risk of physical media failure.

Preventable Loss

Data that was created between the last backup window, and the time of the restoration will be lost forever and will have to be recreated, adding more man hours to the already growing cost of the recovery effort.
This risk cost can be eliminated by implementing a continuous data protection solution that uploads the latest backup versions as soon as the file is saved. This way, you can recover from the last save point, rather than losing an entire day’s worth of productivity. Companies can use a third party virtual service like Dell Vmware on their workstations and laptops to keep all documents managed off-site and stored on a server that has continuous backup.

The Solution is Clear

Analyzing the cost of recovering corporate data should entice companies to seek an offsite storage program that automatically backs up data to a secure and reliable offsite storage location, and has a recovery process that is less costly than traditional recovery from tape.

About the Author

Storagepipe Solutions offers online backup storage solutions for large and small companies. As an IBM partner, they are a one stop solution for data storage, protection, compliance, and recovery.

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