6 Popular Disaster Recovery Myths Debunked

Disaster Recovery Myths

I love myths. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about them when I was a kid, whether they were Greek or Norse myths, or myths about the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, and Big Foot. As I grew older, I started to understand more about why myths exist – they’re based on the inexplicable. People come across things that they can’t explain or understand, and they come up with a story that best explains it in their minds. There’s a giant footprint in the soil – it can’t be made by an animal, and it looks very human. Therefore it must be a supersized humanoid creature, who becomes known as Big Foot.

And myths aren’t restricted to the outlandish tales and lore that are spread from generation to generation. There are IT myths out there as well, which stem from the self-same concept. People who don’t have a great understanding of IT make assumptions based on what they do know, and so IT myths are formed and spread. They’re far less fun, and potentially more dangerous, than those other myths, because they can have a very real impact on your business operations.

That’s why we thought we’d break down one of the topics that we often see being misunderstood and misrepresented: Disaster Recovery Myths.

Why Are There So Many Disaster Recovery Myths?   

Before we jump straight into debunking the myths surrounding Disaster Recovery, it’s important to understand why these myths exist in the first place.

Disaster planning is such an overarching concept when it comes to IT, and it has so many facets that it’s easy for businesses to get confused. There are cloud services, cloud storage, cloud backup, disaster recovery planning, business continuity planning, and all of them form integral parts of the disaster planning process. But for businesses who don’t have an understanding of what these various solutions are, or who have understanding of just one or two of them, it’s really easy to think of them all as one and the same.

This leads to businesses who use cloud services, for example, thinking that they’re automatically covered for any disaster. It’s only when something goes wrong that they realise their mistake. But by then it’s too late to do anything about it.

That’s why it’s so important to break these myths down so that businesses can gain a better understanding of what Disaster Recovery involves, and why it’s an essential investment for any company, large or small. With that out of the way, let’s dive into those Disaster Recovery myths. 

6 Disaster Recovery Myths You May Have Heard Of 

There are plenty of misconceptions in Disaster Recovery doing the rounds, but I really wanted to focus on the 6 myths in Disaster Recovery that I hear most often:

  • We’re Not Likely to Face Disasters 

Where Does It Come From? When most people think of disasters, they mostly think of the natural ones. And if you’re based in a country where earthquakes and hurricanes are few and far between, you might think that your business isn’t really likely to fall victim to a disaster. Or you might think that you’re covered when it comes to security disasters because you’re already paying a security company for an alarm to look after your property.

Why It’s Not True: The word disaster has so many different connotations. There are natural disasters like lightning strikes, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. Attached to them are often disasters like electrical outages, power cuts and fires. Then there are technology disasters like hardware malfunctions and software corruption. There are security disasters that include data leaks, ransomware attacks, and even sabotage. And that’s not even mentioning human error that caused 23% of 2020’s data breaches.

Surprised by that statistic? Here are 7 more than you should know.

Every single business is susceptible to multiple disasters, whether you’re thinking about them or not. And a good Disaster Recovery plan covers every eventuality. It ensures that no matter which type of disaster you face, your business can keep operating as effectively as possible. 

  • We Use Cloud Services, So We Already Have Disaster Recovery

Where Does It Come From? There are plenty of benefits to using cloud services. They allow for better flexibility and access to your data and infrastructure from anywhere in the world. And because the services – the storage and servers and networks – are in the cloud, they are automatically protected against some disasters.

Hardware malfunctions are less likely, for example, because your cloud provider is managing your updates and proactively monitoring infrastructure to ensure that breakdowns are detected before they become problematic. But not all disasters are innately covered by cloud services.

Why It’s Not True: Just because your services are in the cloud, doesn’t mean that they’re fully protected. There’s still the risk of them being breached, for example. Having Disaster Recovery in place ensures that even if your services are infiltrated during a ransomware attack, the impact of the attack will be mitigated. You can restore your cloud backups, you can switch to your virtual environment, and the threat that the attacker holds over your data will become hardly any threat at all.

And there’s still human error to take into consideration. So many businesses think that cloud storage, for example, is the same as cloud backup. But when you’re storing your files on Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint, or on Google Drive, any documents that get deleted are only recoverable for 90 days. Beyond that, they become lost. Having Disaster Recovery in place means that even if you discover that a file has been deleted or (incorrectly edited) a year or two years down the line, you’ll still be able to retrieve and restore it. 

  • Our Data is Backed Up, So We Already Have Disaster Recovery 

Where Does It Come From? Cloud backups are an integral part of Disaster Recovery and are often the first thing that businesses focus on when putting a Disaster Recovery plan in place. It makes perfect sense because having backups of your data will safeguard against those threats like ransomware attacks and human error, and against a variety of other disasters as well. And with this being the main focus for many businesses, there is this misconception in data recovery that having their data backed up is all they need to worry about.

Why It’s Not True: Picture this scenario: Disaster has struck. Your data has become corrupted or been infiltrated. And you have backups of the data, which is awesome.

But how do you access them? 

How do you restore them? 

Who’s responsible for restoring them? 

What needs to be restored first? 

While you try to answer these questions, your operations grind to a halt. And this is why you need a Disaster Recovery plan. Because backing up your data is just the first step. The second is recovering it so that business can continue as normal. Plus, while cloud storage takes care of your files, Disaster Recovery will cover the restoration of your full setup including your infrastructure setup, settings, and the apps that you need to continue your operations.

You need to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place to ensure that your teams know what they should be doing and that your processes can continue as normal when the worst-case scenario becomes a reality.

  • Only Big Businesses Benefit from Disaster Recovery

Where Does It Come From? One common misconception of data recovery and disaster recovery is that it’s only useful for big businesses. Why would attackers target small businesses? There is far more that they’d be able to gain from infiltrating big businesses – higher ransoms that could be paid for ransomware attacks would mean far bigger paydays after all. And in terms of data leaks, who cares about the data that the clothing store down the road keeps on file. Surely data leaks are a bigger concern for big brands like Pick n Pay or Edgars or international conglomerates like Google? Let them worry about Disaster Recovery – my business is hardly going to become a target when there are big ones like them around.  

Why It’s Not True: Big businesses have big security budgets. They know about the risks, and they’re putting security measures in place that make it exceptionally difficult for attackers to gain access to their information. Measures like Disaster Recovery.

Small businesses may not offer as much profit to attackers, but they are A LOT easier to infiltrate. And when you can easily target hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of small businesses, those smaller payloads start to add up. In fact, small businesses made up 28% of data breaches in 2019.

Small businesses are also more heavily impacted by attacks. Where big businesses often have the resources to pay ransom demands, most small businesses simply don’t have the capacity to do so. A business like Google or Facebook can also take a reputation hit and keep going, losing a billion dollars here and there but remaining market leaders. Small businesses on the other hand would stand to lose their whole client base if their reputation took a significant hit.

  • Our Business Can’t Afford Disaster Recovery 

Where Does It Come From? Businesses are always looking for the most affordable and economical solutions. Why wouldn’t they – every Rand, Pound, or Dollar that they spend is eating into their profitability. And one of the areas that many businesses feel they can spare the expense of is Disaster Recovery. They have insurance, after all – why should they have to pay for an extra guarantee that their business will be safe and secure. Especially since Disaster Recovery used to be exceptionally expensive – a luxury that only big corporations could afford.

Why It’s Not True: The rapid increase in the adoption of cloud services has meant that Disaster Recovery, which used to be particularly costly, is now imminently affordable for almost every business.

How affordable will of course depend on factors like how much data needs to be restorable (your Recovery Point Objective or RPO) and how quickly it needs to be restored (your Recovery Time Objective or RTO). The faster your recovery needs to be, and the more thorough in terms of backups, the more it’s going to cost. But even this cost is negligible when compared to how much a disaster like a ransomware attack or data breach can set a business back – R56 million on average.

  • It Will Be Cheaper to Pay for Damages Than for Disaster Recovery 

Where Does It Come From? Most people simply don’t understand how expensive an IT or data disaster can be. When they think of the costs involved, their minds go straight to hardware. And while the hardware is expensive, it isn’t that expensive to replace. Especially with insurance to cover damages. At worst a business would be looking at R100 000 in damages, right? They couldn’t be more wrong.

Why It’s Not True: When disaster strikes, your hardware is often the least of your worries. Servers, laptops, hard drives – they can all be replaced. But how long does it take to replace them? How long will your operations be on hold, with customers losing faith in your abilities every minute? And what about your data? If you don’t have a Disaster Recovery plan which includes cloud backups in place, then when disaster strikes, there is a good chance that you’ll lose your files, documents, records, and more.

Waiting for disaster to strike is the worst possible plan of action. Having Disaster Recovery in place is about more than just peace of mind, which in itself would be worth the cost, but about mitigating the impact and cost of disasters when they do occur.

Make sure that your operations can continue uninterrupted, even when disaster strikes.

Who Can You Turn to for Your Disaster Recovery Needs? 

Having a reliable (and local) IT service provider to help you create a Disaster Recovery plan that will meet your business needs can be a boon to any company. This is why businesses in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and London turn to Solid Systems. Not only do we offer world-class IT support, but we work with businesses to implement solutions that add real value and make them money. Get in touch with us today to discuss your cybersecurity, managed IT services, and cloud solution needs. We’ll dispel and debunk those pesky Disaster Recovery myths and see you stepping confidently into the future.

Daniel Avinir

Daniel Avinir

Head of Client Success at Solid Systems | Virtual CIO I have a love and passion for people, their minds, technology, and nature.I believe in empowering people to work in increasingly flexible and productive ways, helping them unlock the collaboration potential and leading the cultural & technological change of our time.

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