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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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Not if, but When

by Bucky Kaufman (MCSD) In reply to Travel Agents

tell them gently that they need to consider what would happen if all of the computers were not useable for a week.

I tend to disagree because this hasn't worked for me in the past. That's because they don't believe it will happen.

Instead, tell them WHEN it's gonna happen.

For example - grab the stat of how many PC's get infected with virii and thell them, "in the next 12 months, x number of PC's will become infected.

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DR planning is inevitable

by mohit.harbola In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

Let them remind of the Business Continuity Planning that companies located in the World Trade Center at Manhattan had done before going out in flames on the now infamous 9/11.
But for the DR planning,the companies would have shut their shops by now and mind you,many of those companies were Fortune-ranked companies..and they still are.
Any forward-looking company today has to have a plan for Disaster beacause no place on this earth is under no-disaster warranty.It's always better to be proactive than react to things that are not in control any more.


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9/11 WTC Lessons

by jtnieves In reply to DR planning is inevitable

As much as I hate to keep repeating the 9/11 mantra when discussing BC&DR planning, your post dragged me back to it. (Damn it.)

In your post, you state, "But for the DR planning,the companies would have shut their shops by now and mind you,many of those companies were Fortune-ranked companies..and they still are."

And on this point you are absolutely correct. In fact, some of the Fortune 500s were ready to do business the next day if not for the markets being closed for a few days afterwards.

But there were many businesses and organizations that shut their doors or could not continue operations because of improper BC&DR planning. In fact, when 7 WTC went down hours after the twin towers collapsed, the FBI and Secret Service lost the only evidence they had in some pretty major cases. The result was that the cases against some bad guys were dismissed due to lack of eveidence. It's an embarrassment and travesty all private, public, and government concerns could learn from. Unfortunately, many still have not.

My advice to the original post -- do a business impact analysis and show managementin broad, beautiful "Powerpoint" colors what the cost (cha-ching) will be their company for NOT having a strong BC&DR program. You would be wise to enlist not only the Accounting group in your company to help develop this analysis, but also enlist the help of your company's auditors and legal counsel to further highlight the risk of "doing nothing."

We all know the consequence of doing nothing with regards to BC&DR planning. 9/11 is proof enough. But now you need to convince management that their NIMBY-ism on this important "operational" facet is very short-sighted.

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Stage a disaster drill.

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

Try something. Companies have fire drills where all the staff have to evacuate the building, so bo business is done.

How about demonstrating the problem to the execs (with their co-operation) by downing the servers for a short while and let the execs see that problems are caused and how the company manages. At least in the disaster drill all you need to do is just turn the servers back on.

There is another more sinister reason. What if the boys up-top think that the insuraqnce can cover the lost profits, or what if they don't actually care if the company dies. Besides, I suspect they are not "strapped for cash".

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Disaster Drill or Disaster

by sharkoboy In reply to Stage a disaster drill.

Defining a disaster drill in real time applications is in fact defining an operational recovery method. Prior to launching a drill a well defined recovery method should be well engineered with a post, primary, secondary, and possibly a trinary recovery system to be incorporated into routine schedules. In fact making recovery an integrated phase of daily operations would be wise preventive maintenence. An ounce of prevention is worth twenty pounds of cure.

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Selling DR

by rajwar2000 In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...

If the company is reluctant to invest $$, the best way is to create a detailed report yourself on not only the what-if scenarios also the business losses in case of Disaster.

1) What about the reputation of the company?
2) By investing on DR, will you gain any prospect with you customers as you will stand better with competetors.
3) If the real objective is to have some basic DR in place, try to work out what is possible within your limits.

Hope this helps in some way.
With regards,

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Try the **1 potion

by th7711 In reply to Selling DR

Lots of good ideas/points from others. And you can try to sell with the best example, **1 (the tragedy of World Trade Center) or NY black out. Then compare with the lost and expense.

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Is it worth to be DR prepared?

by DanBl5 In reply to How do I "sell" disaster ...


I'm a seniour system architect and I have more then 10 years of experience with DR planning and implementation in huge telecomunication companies, all over the world.

I'm trying to answer your questions not from the legal aspect, neither from the technical one, but from the cost perspective.

Having a DR solution costs a lot of money. Once you have a DR solution in place, keeping it running is an additional cost, in human and technical resources. In simple words, if your company sells a product of some kind, its price will have to go up if you implement a good DR solution. An exec. has to ask himself what is the potential loss if there is no DRP in place, against the ongoing cost of a DR solution and its impact on the products he/she sells.

In my oppinion, the only way to sell a DR solution to an exec. is to come up with a business cost analyses of being DR prepared against not being prepared. Risks can be translated to costs, human resources as well, legal aspects are more problematic, but in the end all aspects can be translated to short and long term costs, in some way or another. Even losing one of your big customers because you do not have a DR solution, has a price tag on it.

Let me give you an imaginary scenario: suppose company "A" was very successful for years, but lately it is in a bad position and has a lot of debts to banks, suppliers, etc.. It is not clear if it will be able to close these debts at all. If a DR happens (especially one that can be defined as "act of God", like a heavy flood), the company will simply "disapear" and no one will have to pay the debts. I know it is not that simple, but what I'm trying to say is that for many companies a DR might be a better way out than paying ongoing money to be DR prepared.

And a last piece of advice: I suppose your company uses equipment from known vendors. Every big HW vendor is willing to provides a certain level of DR analyses & advice for free, so there is where I would start.

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The way DR was "sold" for me

by DoctorDisk In reply to Is it worth to be DR prep ...

About ten years ago I was called in to fix a minor problem in the data centre of a large well-known international insurance company here in Hong Kong. While I was there a young lady, having finished her backup ejected the tape and placed it in a cardboard box adjacent to the server in the server cupboard. I went and checked and discovered that this was the one and only tape that this company possessed.
I immediately spoke to the boss and pointed out that a fire in the server cupboard would leave him with no backup and no possibility of continuing in business. He brushed me off with a comment like: "Who's ever heard of a fire in a high rise office building?" This was on Friday afternoon ...
Early Saturday morning I received a panicked telephone call from that self-same boss: the floor below theirs had been completely gutted by fire during the night and this morning they have no network ... please come and help.
When I arrived there, I noticed a certain amount of smoke damage and some charred skirting boards. The network cables were run through the skirting boards and had been burnt through. The server was okay, the backup tape was okay, but the charred skirting was less than a foot from the server cupboard. Water from the firefighting had soaked the carpet to the very door of the server cupboard.
Within the hour I had them in business by laying a temporary Ethernet cable straight across the top of the carpet until the "real" job could be done on Monday.
Within the week they had a complete set of backup tapes stored in the company's fire-proof safe at the opposite end of the building from the server cupboard, including one tape which had to be taken home by an executive every night.
There's nothing like a real scare to wake these guys up!

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Yes, it is....

by jtnieves In reply to Is it worth to be DR prep ...

I don't know what part of the world you're from, but here in the US, an "Act of God" that destroys "Company A's" business will not excuse them of their debts, particularly if those debts were incurred prior to the Act.

I'm not a lawyer, but I know enough that if "Company A" owes me money and their operation goes in the crapper because of a disaster, I can pursue legal action against the principles of said company to recover what I'm owed -- even if it's but a fraction of the original debt. In short, the principals of Company A are still liable for the debt and in some cases, "personally" liable if the disaster was the result of negligence.

To make a long story short, any business owner/manager who rationalizes away BC&DR planning in the manner you describe needs his/her head examined or thrown out on their proverbial asses.

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