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How Confident Are You in Your Recovery? Forrester Reports Suggest that Maybe You Should Not Be

—-> By Kelly Baig
Last Spring, Forrester published some interesting data from a late 2010 survey they conducted with Disaster Recovery Journal of 200 DRJ members. In that survey, 61% of respondents reported that they felt “very prepared” or “prepared” to recover data centers in the event of a site failure. This is an increase from 52% in response to the same question in 2007.

Yet, in the same survey, test of recovery plans reportedly went down — and organizations reporting “no test at all” went up. Also, updates to test plans likewise went down.

Thorough test of recovery plans and procedures is widely known as being the critical success factor in enabling successful recovery when you need it. The discrepency between levels of confidence and sufficient test reported in the survey, begs the question: why are so many organizations confident of their recovery?

Are Test Practices Improving in 2011?

This week, Rachel Dines — the Forrester Analyst who worked with DRJ on the 2010 survey — posted a new report entitled “Disaster Recovery Exercises Fall Short Of The Finish Line.”

The title and 10 useful tips for testing which Rachel identifies, seem to indicate that test practices have not improved in 2011 for most organizations.

In fact, for most organizations, completing test for an entire disaster recovery plan may be relatively rare. Many times, “best-effort” tests seem to be the norm. These efforts are not sufficient to ensure recovery. Yet test costs and management burdens appear to prevent these practices from improving.

Getting Past “Best-Effort” Testing

Clients working with SunGard Availability Services have found relief from test costs and burdens, working with a new service called Managed Recovery Program (MRP). This service uses best practices defined by SunGard, to prescribe test frequency and test methods.

Each MRP customer is assigned a Solutions Delivery Manager (SDM) responsible for monitoring changes in a client’s production environment. SDMs then recommend appropriate modifications in recovery test plans, to keep up with production changes. They also prescribe test frequency and priority. At test as well as disaster, SunGard recovery experts assume the recovery burden, eliminating all of the headaches and costs while raising recovery readiness.

Adopters of MRP come through a thorough recovery test as part of their on-boarding process. These customers have been surprised in many cases, to realize that they had significant gaps in their recovery plans about which they were unaware prior to test.

Interested in learning more about MRP? Check out this recent MRP video posted on YouTube for a quick overview.