Over the last week, Hurricane Sandy has influenced business operations across eastern North America and indirectly around the world. This weekend a colleague suggested I read the following white paper from HP/Score: Impact on US Small Business of Natural & Man-Made Disasters, there are a number of insightful statistics on the impacts of disasters with small and medium size business. The statistic that hit home for myself was the statistic that businesses not able to resume operations within 10 days are not likely to survive. This is especially important considering the worlds economic climate and the increased occurrence of natural disasters.
Enterprise disaster recovery plans are focused with scenarios leveraging redundancies in the infrastructure to ensure data center fail over to other geographies but not the fail over of remote desktop users. Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) are metrics to measure an organizations ability to recover from situations disruptive to the business. Typically these metrics are data center specific and do not include mobile desktop end users whether they are using BYOD, COPE or corporate managed assets. While VDI addresses the needs of large data center organizations in the enterprise, many small and medium businesses, healthcare and education organizations and professionals cannot support its cost.
What is insightful about the HP document is the way disasters are classified. They are broken into Major and Personal Disasters. Major Disasters are those caused by events that impact many individuals such as Earthquakes and Hurricanes. Personal Disasters are those that result in user error such as driving away with the laptop on the car roof or fire/flooding.
Traditionally, IT only focuses on the big stuff with less emphasis on the personal category. Organizations should be looking at having multiple disaster plans that address both categories while including remote mobile users. Intellectual property is a corporate asset that can be lost to due to the failure of hardware. Orchard Parc is currently addressing this challenge with the work that is being done with OPUS within the context of the enterprise Mac.
I would encourage everyone within the delivery of technology services to read this document and to check out www.score.org. The cost breakdown and analysis demonstrates the need to expand disaster recovery beyond IT to be viewed as a standard operating practice of any business.