An interesting report by Forrester Research, “The Risks of Do It Yourself Disaster Recovery” points to the fact that companies should think twice before cobbling together their own disaster recovery solutions.

The Forrester survey found that many firms today are taking a hybrid approach to disaster recovery, using a mix of in-house and outsourced solutions. Forrester cautions, however, that running  DR capabilities in-house poses unforeseen difficulties, including a lack of focus, funding, testing, and skills needed to make the homemade DR program a success. When it comes to preserving availability, uptime, and productivity in the event of a disaster, DIY solutions simply are not good enough.

The Dream vs. Reality of DIY DR
It is interesting to see that while companies who decide to bring disaster recovery in-house do it because they want more control over the infrastructure (39% of respondents) and believe they can deliver a better recovery capability (24%), once DR is implemented the reality is quite different. Take for example what organizations reported as being their top challenges when it comes to their in-house DR infrastructure and processes:

  • Lack of focus on DR relative to other IT projects
  • Lack of funding to keep DR infrastructure up to date
  • Lack of DR skills in-house
  • Not confident in ability to respond to a real disaster

Another telling sign that in-house disaster recovery solutions are not living up to expectations is shown in the stats related to DR testing as 59% of respondents report their DR tests or exercise were only somewhat successful with only some recovery objectives met.

Current Disaster Recovery Options
A few short years ago, the DIY trend was justified. There simply were not that many good disaster recovery solutions on the market that were reasonably priced, and with evolving technologies such as virtualization, IT departments felt compelled to either build a solution themselves or stitch together products from different vendors to meet their needs.

Today, there’s no need to go it alone when it comes to planning and implementing a DR solution. The advent of cloud computing has opened many possibilities now being exploited by different vendors and a new wave of services has been taking hold of the market. Even a new term, Recovery-as-a-Service, coined by Gartner, or Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, which is how Forrester calls it, is now being used to demonstrate the capabilities of this new breed of DR.

When it comes to protecting your company’s data and applications, there is no need to do it yourself anymore. Besides, when calculating the TCO (total cost of ownership) of a DR solution it is inevitable that the DIY approach will end up being the more costly solution. As Forrester puts it:

“Many firms make the leap without fully considering the true costs”

Key questions to consider are:

  1. Do you have to expertise in-house to run and maintain an effective DR program?
  2. Can you ensure the ongoing funding to make the program successful?
  3. Can you dedicate proper resources to the program?
  4. Can you ensure a consistent testing and exercise regimen?
  5. Will you be able to keep focus for continuous improvement of the program?

For more details on how to calculate the TCO of your own DR solution and even when evaluating different vendors, check out this online presentation on “5 Criteria to Select a Business Continuity Solution.”