The Importance of Backing Up Your Information & Having a Business Continuity Plan

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Jul 11, 2017

Why a Business Continuity Plan is Critical

Downtime is real and it’s costly.

How costly is downtime? Depending on the size of the organization, the cost per hour of downtime is anywhere from $9,000- $700,000. On average, a business will lose around $164,000 per hour of downtime.

What causes downtime? Network outages and human error account for 50% and 45% of downtime, respectively. Meanwhile, natural disasters account for just 10 percent of downtime. When you look at the cause of downtime by data volume, the #1 culprit is human error at 58%. As it turns out, businesses should be more wary of their own employees and less of natural disasters.

If you’ve been putting off data protection because your organization is located far from any inclement weather, be warned: the bigger threat to your data is inside of your company, not the great outdoors.

Data Backup vs Business Continuity

Data backup answers the questions: is my data safe? Can I get it back in case of a failure?

Business continuity involves thinking about the business at a higher-level and asks: how quickly can I get my business operating again in case of system failure?

Thinking about data backup is a good first step. Business continuity is equally important to consider as it ensures your organization is able to get back up and running in a timely matter if disaster strikes. For example, if your server dies, you wouldn’t be able to quickly get back to work if you only had file-level backup. Your server would need to be replaced, software and data re-installed, and the whole system would need to be configured with your settings and preferences. This process could take days. Can your business afford to lose that time?

When talking about business continuity, think in terms of Recovery Time Objective (RTO), and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

  • RTO: The Recovery Time Objective is the duration of time within which a business must be restored after a disruption to avoid unacceptable consequences.
  • RPO: The Recovery Point Objective is the maximum tolerable period of time in which data might be lost due to a disaster.

By calculating your desired RTO, you have determined the maximum time you can be without your data before your business is at risk. Alternatively, by specifying the RPO, you know how often you need to perform backups. You may have an RTO of a day, and an RPO of an hour depending on what your business requires. But calculating these numbers will help you understand what type of data backup solution you need.

Once you determine your RPO and RTO, it’s time to calculate how much downtime and lost data will actually cost you. Simply add up the average per-hour wage, the per-hour overhead, and the per-hour revenue numbers and you have how much a data loss will cost you.

Given that budget constraints can be a challenge for many businesses, obtaining these costs provides a financial validation to justify the purchase and maintenance of a business continuity solution.

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Category: Technology