How would your organisation cope in the event of an incident that resulted in significant data loss? To a large extent, it depends on the nature of your business, the type of data lost and the delay before normal service resumes. The loss of email for a few hours might result in administrative disruption, inconvenience, lost productivity and decreased customer satisfaction. However, the loss of transactional or production data for a similar duration is more likely have a direct impact on your operations – and your profitability.
For the majority of companies, significant loss of data could be enough to put them out of business for good. Consider how rapidly the situation could escalate:
• If proprietary or confidential information is lost forever, this can adversely affect an organisation’s ability to remain competitive
• Loss of trust may prompt customers to cease doing business with a company
• The situation may be compounded by creditors suing for late payments resulting from financial losses
• Fines may be incurred for breaching regulations if the data required to demonstrate compliance is lost
• Collateral damage in the form of a tarnished company reputation may result in loss of market position or investors withdrawing financial support
The descent into chaos can be rapid. The majority of businesses experiencing significant data loss typically file for bankruptcy within six months to two years due to failure to recover.
A 2010 Forrester Research survey of over 2,800 IT decision-makers worldwide found that improving business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities is the top priority for small and medium businesses and the second highest priority for enterprises in 2011.
It’s easy to understand why business continuity may not be a preoccupation or primary concern for time-pressed IT managers while things are running smoothly. But inlight of today’s culture of information dependency, it needs to be. Business continuity should feature higher on the board-level agenda, too: in the event of catastrophic data loss, no-one in the company will be immune to the impact.
What is the impact if you lose data for one day?
“We work in real-time, so it would affect what we do dramatically”
“We have 2,000 staff and 3,000 students – a total of 5,000 people not being able to carry out their work”
“After one hour, production would start to suffer”
“The business could not run at all – it would completely shut down”
“It will cause some delays in payments and reimbursements, so our clients won’t be happy”
MacArthurStroud Research, 2010
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