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How do I "sell" disaster recovery to the exec's?

By TomSal ·
Here's my problem...we have ZERO disaster recovery. Should an act of God happen tomorrow we face the liklihood of being done as a business.

+There are no co-location plans

+We backup, but tapes are stored locally

+Only SmartUps for our UPS -- a whopping 4 - 7 1/2 minutes of backup juice depending which server you are talking about

+Personnel wise there does not exist a contingency plan for who does what task should someone in a critical position be killed or get hurt in such a way it prohibits them to work

+Its so pathetic we had a prospective client (representing a HUGE Pharmacy chain -- if I said the name you'd know them right away) come in and ask our CEO , "So what kind of disaster recovery do you have here?"...our CEO said "Well we are fully insured."

Despite all this I just can't get these guys to invest some dollars into DR. I have typed up basic documentation on the why its needed and the "what-if" scenarios...but I guess either my explainations suck or they are just stubborn. The top execs have this fatal case of "If it doesn't make us money we don't want to invest into it!".

I have told them we need a professional disaster recovery consultant to come in this place and assess everything and then write a report. They'd go for this if the guy was free. maybe.

Its so frustrating. This is a battle I've been fighting over and over for 3 years now. They won't listen.

Recently in our area there was major rainstorms, which did considerable flood damage to surrounding areas -- this made me think on the topic again (our server room is ground level).

Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.

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What part of ethical behavior do you not understand?!?!?!?

by ScubaBoy In reply to Been there, convinced the ...

It is amazing to me just how many of you unprofessional morons there are out there. Scary. All I can really figure is that you wannabe professionals are a result of the paper certification mills that don't teach any business acumen or actual skills.

Should a doctor tell you that you have lung cancer, just to get you to quit smoking?

Should a lawyer tell prosecutors information about his client, in order to scare him?

This is as logical as you "simulating" a disaster. I'm sure the "simulation" put people off the network, and cost money. The fact that you got a raise by doing this simply underscores the fact that there are very stupid people at all levels, and your company seems to have cornered the market.

If you had "simulated" a disaster on my network, and it cost so much as one minute of productivity, I would have fired your a** so fast your head would be spinning. And I'd make sure anyone calling for a reference knew what an ethical, professional person you are -- NOT!!

I need to make sure that none of you intentional-crasher inbreds work for any company with which I do business!!

All IT PROFESSIONALS should operate by the same basic rules that physicians do:

"First, Do No Harm"

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I agree with you...

by JesusS In reply to What part of ethical beha ...

Mr. ScubaBoy

First of all, I agree with what you are saying:
"All IT professionals SHOULD be ethical". Please note the emphasis on SHOULD. The fact is that not everyone in IT conforms to your standards. The IT industry is a dog-eat-dog world where greed, money, and politics dictate the actions of everyone. Sometimes you just have to do things "outside the box" in order to get results.

Regarding my actions: Was it unethical? Absolutely. Did I enjoy doing it? NO. Was it necessary? YES. I read one of your other posts and found out that you got screwed over by your bosses. If I hadn't made my move, I probably would have suffered a similar fate. No productivity was lost. As I mentioned, this incident took place befor the workday officialy started. All systems were up and running at the time they should have been running.

I would love to live in your world where ethics, responsibility, and honesty are prevalent. But I don't. Now, I've been reading every post in this discussion and did not come across your advise. All I found were your harsh criticisms on advise given by other members. I would love to know: What would YOU have done?

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Equait it to extra Insurance

by thomasmac In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

Show $$$$$$'s in cost if your down for more than
4 hr. a day 2 days a week etc !!! Insurance will
buy the new equipment but not the DATA to Run
the show and no data no money to run the company!
Tell them that they have to follow the money to
the source Customers thus no customers no money
no company ! the BEST of luck with your problem
You might print out some of these replies
of the fine pepole here and present it to the
CEO of the company .

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Watch what happens when....

by thegreek In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

Things go awry.
First of all, propose some viable (but not too expensive) means of disater recovery. With your proposal, be generous with the facts. Make sure that everyone understands exactly how the recovery would work.
To make the point stick, if you can do so without causing too much havoc, come in early one day and shut down the network. Believe me, the one thing that gets everyone's attention is a situation where nothing functions as it should.
Good Luck.

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Three Sane Approaches

by progan01 In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

Forget faking a disaster or doing anything else without their knowledge. They'll forget disaster planning but remember YOU for what you did. Wrong message.

Focus on receivables. What do they get paid for? Where do the checks come? If there's no address left, where would the checks go? Back to the sender? What would the customers do if they couldn't get to the people in the office? Would they go to their competitors? Would they bother to even look for any of the company's people?

Ask the lead question and build from there. Ultimately disaster recovery is about business resumption, getting back to where we started from. The circle breaks for these guys at the point where they don't get paid. Ask them how they intend to get paid, and watch their eyeballs track to the weakest link. That's the place you start to sell disaster recovery.

Keep in mind that if there hasn't been an outage or a loss within living memory of the decision-makers, there is no 'good' bad example to use to drive them. It does no good to resort to scare tactics if they aren't familiar with what a 'disaster' really is. Don't make the mistake of blaming them for their good luck.

If your industry is trying to deal with Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA, you have another way to deal with raising the subject. Regulations may require backups of critical records, a real headache for a lot of people. You can get two birds with one S-O stone if you can show that adding disaster recovery provisions to the new overhead will get them twice the return for their initial dollars -- and more if they actually have a disaster and have to use their backups and the plan. That's cheap insurance, and tailored to their business needs.

There's a third method, if you know your execs and their contacts and their industry well. If somebody else had a disaster, one that cost them business that your firm picked up, or better yet that happened to a friend of one of the execs, you have a personal 'in' you should raise. Keep in mind that groupthink may keep the one exec from speaking about the experience, so you may need to do some digging and asking around, and you may need to be discrete. But the personal experience of disaster, even if it happened to someone you know, tends to make a lasting impression. One that can drive DR even in the most unmotivated of environments.

Selling DR to people who haven't known disaster is always an uphill battle, but it can be done. Stay away from scare tactics and focus on the returns. They may never use the fire extinguisher in the hall, after all, but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Good luck!

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Th need for disaster recovery

by mhoeting In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

I faced this same issue: educating the executive team on the REAL need for disaster recovery, and convincing them it was more than just a best practice.

We are a government agency, so things probably work a little different, but this strategy would work for private industry as well.

I requested/encouraged our financial auditors to include an IS audit in their financial audit process and report. Having the lack of disaster recovery show up as a finding in the financial audit got me the traction I needed to fund the DR plan.

Hope this helps.


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2 simple approaches

by recovery In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

1. If they don't believe in investing the money this should also apply to insuring the business, therefore they should not be carrying ang insurance (buildings, liabilities, loss of profits, etc.) Some of these of course are legal requirements for businesses - but there is no ROI.
Do the directors, CEO, Board, or senior staff have personal insurance s on their homes, cars, health etc. - WHY?
2. The second approach is that if senior management have been warned about the need for DR and fail to take steps to safeguard the business, they can be PERSONALLY sued for not taking due care and diligence. Are they willing to take that risk - Their job, their livelyhood, and all their personal possessions & savings.

It is also a fact that preparing a proper DR plan can bring savings to companies as it focuses on the business and the critical parts. Many businesses have processes that are run "because they have always been done" and are no longer valid, but no-one has ever queried them. It also produces a chance to review the various requirements within departments and makes them accountable for things such as IT spending.

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Share of my selling Disaster Recovery tactics to senior management

by eugene_miu In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

Hi Tom,

I had the same problem like this before. However, I did not put on my business manager hat to think through the solution.

There are several things which we can try:
1.Get the business units executives buy in of the DRP. If they can provide a lost of sale figure if anything happened to the core system, then it will be a good selling point.
2. Sell your plan through these business units executives, let them discuss this matters thru the meeting.
3. Put in the loss of income figure and return of investment into the proposal, this will get their attention.
4. finally, you can be the faciliator to do a brain storming session on disaster issues.

I hope this help.

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Trial by Fire

by gary In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

"Loose" some of the exec's files for a few days, something he really needs, like his outlook .pst file. "Find" it a few days later. Explain how a daily backup could have him up and running in a few hours instead of days.

If this seems a bit drastic to you, unplug on of the IDE cables on the server's hard drives before you leave late at night. Just be prepared to come in early the next day. ;-)

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How to sell DR to exec's.

by rogerbarker.ics In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

I specify how much money is lost during a disaster and how much can be saved when they invest in DR services. I convinved a bunch of architects that strongly believe that IT is a blackhole with no discernable benefits.

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