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As discussed in previous articles, data access is critical for discovery, case collaboration, communications, and cataloging evidence. In the event of a natural disaster or equipment failure, what is your plan for restoring your business to operation? How long can you afford to be down? What data is absolutely required to operate your business?

This article will discuss the criteria for formulating your own disaster recovery plan. A solid disaster recovery plan should be a piece of any business continuity plan.


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So, what’s the difference? Data backup answers the questions: is my data safe? Can I get it back in case of a failure? Business continuity involves thinking about the business at a higher level, and asks: how quickly can I get my business operating again in case of system failure?


Aberdeen Group data (2013) shows that the cost of downtime across all business sectors ran as high as $163,674 per hour. Imagine that figure in 2022! This differs based on the size of a company but points out the idea that there is real financial risk to downtime. Minimizing the time required to restore data to an operational condition is critical but must also be weighed against the cost of technology required to achieve the optimum result. Further studies indicate that only about 10% of data loss by volume were due to natural disasters! The leading cause of data loss by volume was attributed to human error, accounting for about 58% of data loss by volume.

Storage & Recovery

Data is invaluable to the survival of most businesses in today’s markets. Failure to maintain and manage data properly could have severe financial impact to the business. Several factors can impact the integrity of the data. These can include natural disasters, failure of the backup process or equipment, and everyone’s worst fear, data loss due to an external attack. There should be a routine schedule for backups based on the following:


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RPO (Recovery Point Objective). The maximum tolerable period allowed in which data might be lost due to a disaster. What data needs to be restored for the business to operate?

RTO (Recovery Time Objective). The duration of time within which a business must be restored after a disaster or disruption to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity.

How much will downtime and/or data loss cost? Ask the following questions:

  1. How many employees would be affected if critical data were unavailable?
  2. What is the average wage of the affected employee (per hour)?
  3. What is the per-hour overhead cost of the affected employees?
  4. How much revenue would be lost per hour due to the unavailability
    of data?

Simply add up the average per-hour wage, the per-hour overhead, and the per-hour revenue numbers and you have how much a data loss will cost you.


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Given that funding and budget constraints can be the top challenge (43 percent) for a business to implement a business continuity solution, calculating your RTO will give you the financial validation needed to justify its purchase and maintenance.

Calculating the real costs associated with data loss gives SMBs a better understanding of the risks relating to business failure. And thinking about your business in these terms puts your backup solution into perspective. The it-won’t-happen-to-me mindset simply doesn’t fly.

Backup & Recovery Options

There are optional methods used for backup and recovery strategies.

Local image backups can back up your operating system, applications, and databases on a regular basis, onsite, making data recovery faster and easier.

Offsite data backup capabilities are available, ranging from nightly file backup to cloud server virtualization. These offsite data backups provide added security and accessibility in the event of a system crash, facility disaster, or other crisis to get you up and running quickly.

Hybrid backup services provide local backups on a prescribed frequency along with offsite backups. The flexibility of an offsite backup allows restoration to be done even when a crisis doesn’t allow local access or for restoring remote workforce employees.

Test the Plan

As with periodic fire drills, every business should attempt to restore their backups periodically to ensure that the data is usable when needed, and to understand how well the method fits with the RTO and RPO calculations.


Larry McKinley

Larry McKinley earned a BSEE degree from Texas Tech University, where he began his career in industrial automation and controls, working primarily with agricultural, manufacturing, and petrochemical customers. After industrial automation, Larry became a process control engineer, working in the Pulp & Paper industry. While in the industry, he worked as a Process Information Engineer, IT Project Manager, IT Business Relationship Manager, and Business Application Support Manager. Larry also earned certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt, working for several years in Manufacturing Optimization. Interests outside of work include music, cooking, gardening, and sports.

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