What counts as a “disaster” in IT?

Steve Sutcliffe
By Steve Sutcliffe
Once upon a time, businesses would only declare an IT disaster in the event of something like severe flooding, a raging fire or extreme weather, like hurricanes and tsunamis.
What counts as a “disaster” in IT?
Given the definition of disaster; a sudden, calamitous event that causes serious disruption, we’d have to say each of these occurrences would certainly fit the bill.

Now however, disaster recovery planning is changing and instead of planning for the “worst case” scenario, like the types of disaster listed above, businesses are focussing on the “most likely” disaster scenarios. The causes of these scenarios are often far less dramatic than what we have traditionally thought of as a disaster, but the effect of these scenarios can in fact, be much worse. So, with that in mind, what are today’s IT disasters that you should be planning for in your disaster recovery plan?
 

Hacking and cyber attacks

We’ve covered cyber attacks a lot on the Dynamic Networks blog and you should know by now that no business, however small, is exempt from a cyber-attack. Furthermore, cyber attacks and hacking is on the increase, with new methods of attack appearing every day. That means any disaster recovery plan worth its salt, must cover what to do in the event of your business falling victim to cyber criminals, in order to limit the disastrous effect this could have on your business.
 

Network intrusions

Malware and viruses are specific types of cyber attack that can compromise IT networks and corrupt data so these should be treated separately in a disaster recovery plan, to make sure your business is properly protected.
 

Network or system failures

All the hardware your business relies on, from computers to servers, has a limited lifespan. In other words, they don’t last forever and eventually they’ll need at the very least repairing if not completely replacing. Without the proper maintenance and replacements, these hardware elements are bound to break and when that happens it could have a seriously big impact on your business.
 

Software or applications failures

Software and applications can also fail from time to time, sometimes without warning or explanation too. Making sure your disaster recovery plan considers what to do in the event of a software failure is key to limiting the impact this will have on your business.


Power failures

You might think that once your hardware and software is all sorted you have it covered, but don’t forget that many of these things rely on power and or internet access in order to function. Many events that cause power failures may also sit outside your direct control, such as regional power cuts, blackouts, power surges and of course, natural disasters like flooding or lightning strikes that can take out power lines and data cabling. 
 

Botched upgrades and migrations

We’ve mentioned in our previous blog, ‘seven common disaster recovery myths’, that for many businesses an IT disaster recovery plan is still a worthwhile investment even if you never fall victim to a conventional disaster or a cyber-attack, because it can effectively plan and accommodate the best practices for any system upgrades or migrations you decide to make. This can help avoid a potential IT disaster before it happens and as the saying goes, prevention is better than the cure!

Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place? Speak with the experts to see how we can safeguard your business. 
 
 

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