Tech Tip: Make the disaster recovery case to management

Learn how to make the disaster recovery case to management.

By Mike Talon

In many organizations, upper management isn't necessarily technically savvy, and the powers-that-be who control your budget and headcount may not have a lot of IT knowledge under their belts. This can lead to situations in which upper management rules out the technological solution that the organization really needs.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and IT pros often have little control over the situation. The decisions that come down from above may not be uncontestable, but it can definitely be difficult to get them reversed.

Let's look at how you can best present your DR solution to management, and let's discuss how you can best protect yourself--and the company's data--if management chooses a different path.

First, make sure management is aware of why the proposed solution is necessary for proper disaster recovery planning. Gather data on the various parts of the solution, and translate this information into nontechnical terminology as best you can.

Consider performing your own cost-benefit analysis, instead of relying on the accounting staff to do it. And brush up on any regulations concerning data recovery for your type of business, which can add even more weight to your case.

After you've gathered all of this information, present it to management, and ask what additional information they need to make their decision. Of course, you hope this information will be sufficient to convince management that the company needs to implement the solution.

But don't assume that you're in the clear. Budget restrictions or corporate politics may cause management to reject your proposed solution in part or in its entirety.

If this occurs, you have a couple options. You can go above the superior's head, but keep in mind that this course of action could have serious repercussions for your career.

A safer option is to go forward with the solution that management has deemed acceptable. But you should prepare to shield yourself from the fallout if this solution ultimately fails.

To effectively prepare for the backlash of a failed solution you didn't recommend, first maintain all the documentation you gathered for your original presentation. Make sure you can pull it up when the emergency is over, so you can prove you suggested a different course of action.

In any case, if management decides against the solution you think the organization really needs, you must do the best you can with what's available. Prepare as much as you can to recover from the disaster with the solutions you have at hand, and prepare to answer to management if these solutions fail to provide the level of recovery you know the company needs.

Mike Talon is an IT consultant and freelance journalist who has worked for both traditional businesses and dot-com startups.