It’s tough to justify budget requests for a function you hope will never be used. That’s why no one wants to spend on disaster recovery. Yet the reality is that disaster isn’t that rare. In one survey, 75 percent of businesses had experienced downtime due to power outages. It’s important, then, that your business has a disaster recovery plan and that it’s cost effective. Here are four steps to help you develop a DR plan that won’t kill your budget while saving your business.

1. Evaluate your processing and storage needs.

The most obvious disaster recovery plan calls for a secondary site that duplicates the primary processing site in its entirety. Unfortunately, this is also an expensive approach that results in a lot of unused capacity.

Your processing needs at your backup site aren’t necessarily the same as at your full-scale production site. You can likely create a smaller-scale DR site focused on getting business-critical operations back up and running while leaving secondary functions offline. You may also be able to leverage existing servers in your recovery plans. Consider using development and test servers to support production functionality when a crisis hits.

Your storage needs at your DR site also don’t have to match the storage at your primary site. Your primary site likely includes spare capacity to handle future growth; your DR site only needs to handle your current volume. Your DR site is also only likely to access or store a few weeks’ worth of data, not your full archival volume, which also reduces the storage capacity required. You should also leverage technology like data deduplication and purging obsolete data to reduce the storage needed.

2. Rely on the cloud

Use the cloud to virtualize your DR data center. By using the cloud, you minimize your investment in DR hardware. A cloud-based DR site also makes testing your DR plan more straightforward due to the separation from your production environment. It also makes scaling your DR site as your business grows simpler.

3. Document and streamline your process

Building a DR site is one part of the DR cost; using the site is another. Make sure your DR process is documented and tested so you can efficiently fail over when a disaster happens. Ideally, your DR architecture is carefully thought out and uses the same technology as your core IT functions and your team is as confident with executing the DR plan as they are with normal operations.

4. Don’t create your own DR plan

Rather than inventing your own DR plan, think about using disaster recovery as a service. DRaaS gives you a reliable, tested DR process that is fully supported for you. You have all the benefits of using the cloud, with none of the expenses of overseeing the backup and recovery process.

dcVAST offers several services to help achieve cost-effective DR. Managed Veritas services help ensure that your data is fully backed up and easily recoverable, while our managed disaster recovery services provide full support when you need your operations to failover to your DR site. Contact us to learn more about cost-effective disaster recovery solutions.