Whether your business is suddenly hit by a fire, hurricane, or common server failure, disaster can strike at any moment, putting your company at risk of financial and productivity loss. While adopting a disaster recovery plan will help protect your company from data loss and downtime, failing to test your plan can significantly hinder its effectiveness.

Unfortunately, after building a disaster recovery plan most companies place it on the back self to collect dust. In fact, in InformationWeek’s 2013 State of Storage Survey, less than half of survey respondents (40%) had a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy in place and tested it regularly. Another 40% had a disaster recovery plan in place but rarely tested it, while 20% had no plan.

No two disaster situations are alike and often the way you think your disaster recovery plan will play out is different than what actually happens in real time. Frequent disaster recovery testing eliminates the “what ifs” and helps businesses understand whether their recovery expectations will be met when disaster strikes. This begs the question: why aren’t more companies making disaster recovery testing a top priority?

First, many believe that disaster recovery infrastructure is too expensive to test. However, it’s important to note that the cost of downtime will undoubtedly outweigh whatever the cost of testing may be. Secondly, organizations see testing as being too disruptive to normal business operations as it requires companies to simulate a “real” outage.

With Axcient, however, DR testing is made easy and cost effective. Customers can test their plan through Axcient’s easy-to-use Web-based interface without incurring extra costs or disrupting their daily business operations. You can failover individual servers or your whole IT environment both locally and in the Axcient cloud within minutes, as many times as you need. We actually encourage our customers to test their DR plans on a quarterly basis and provide assistance if needed.

There’s no such thing as being too prepared, especially when it comes to securing data and safeguarding your business. It’s better to test your plan before a disaster strikes than wait until it’s too late.