By Mike Talon
No matter what industry you're in, getting money for disaster recovery and high availability is tough. Most of my clients have experienced this problem above and beyond all technical issues combined. And since the economy is still in a downturn, how to secure DR project funding remains a primary issue for business continuity planning (BCP).
To secure funding, prepare a budget justification for the executives you report to, and it will be passed up the chain of command. In smaller shops, perhaps only one or two people need convincing. However, in larger organizations, you may have to sway entire committees. Make sure your project plan clearly outlines why you require the total sum of money to create a proper BCP for the technology of the business.
The majority of executives will say the organization's data is worth roughly a billion dollars if lost—until they find out the cost of protecting it, at which point the figure is typically rounded down to near worthless. Your job is to determine the middle ground that shows the actual worth of the data and to create a solution that can be built within the confines of a budget that this revised number justifies.
Once the projects are approved, estimate the total budget you'll have to work with. Based on these numbers, pull together a project plan that will allow you to protect these data systems, based on the level of importance your estimates of their worth demands. Be sure to evaluate multiple technologies and products, as well as how these items interact and perform as a unit.
Taking this plan as a guide, you can begin to draw up more formal budgetary numbers that show the impact against the workings of the company if the data were lost beyond recovery. This may justify tape backup systems or a full-scale HA redundancy, depending on how much the data is worth. The combination of the plan itself and the budgetary numbers of your original analysis will help justify the actual budget that's needed to create and implement the plan.
With any luck, and with the proper staff writing the supporting documentation for the proposal, the persons responsible for authorizing the funds for your plan won't refute or deny your request. At the very least, you'll have a definitive paper trail that you can use to justify your job if the DR plan is not given the green light and disaster strikes.
Mike Talon is an IT consultant and freelance journalist who has worked for both traditional businesses and dot-com startups.