Attention, Manufacturers: How Confident Are You in Your Disaster Recovery Strategy?

Ryan Spurr

OK. So you have a backup plan in place. Now the real question is, how prepared is your business to recover from those backups in the event of a cyber incident, equipment failure, or catastrophe?

If you’re like most manufacturers, backup and disaster recovery are checkboxes meant to comply with industry standards, regulations, or insurance requirements. Manufacturers are well-intentioned but don’t necessarily invest in or implement robust disaster recovery (DR) solutions because it’s viewed as cost avoidance, not cost savings. Even if your business does take business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) seriously, most have poorly documented processes that have never been tested, or worst yet, had their disaster recovery solution fail when they needed it most.

The truth is that only 54% of organizations have a documented DR plan, only 50% of organizations are routinely testing their DR solutions, and 73% of organizations experienced DR failures following an outage. This is discouraging news! Statistics such as these are primarily focused on corporate IT BCDR, which means they aim to protect the well-funded and managed data center applications. Most manufacturing organizations lack any clear BCDR strategy when it comes to the operational side of the house, including production equipment, automation, edge compute, or the non-carpeted world.

How confident are you in your existing disaster recovery solutions? Have you tested them? Can you restore your data to any location, including the cloud? Is your operational technology (OT) footprint growing along with your risk levels for protecting and minimizing business disruptions?

Considerations for Modern Disaster Recovery

Backup and disaster recovery are not new, but all manufacturers should consider a few things as they take stock of an evolving tech estate and the growing risks, such as cyber incidents.

First, take stock of the entire landscape, including operational equipment in factories, warehouses, and labs. These processes are critical value creation points for most manufacturers. Any outage that impacts operational goals like shipping, customer commitments, and revenue and profit should be closely scrutinized.

Second, including both IT and OT, does your disaster recovery solution support a diverse range of operating systems, recovery objectives, hardware, and regulatory requirements? Are you able to recover to bare metal in the factory? Is it automated to minimize reliance on employees or under-skilled resources?

Third, does your DR solution support a hybrid landscape? 74% of manufacturing CFOs view cloud as the most impactful technology to support business results leading to 45% of manufacturers adopting some form of cloud solution. With the rapid adoption of cloud services, it’s essential to understand that your DR must recover to both on-premises data centers and recover solutions such as Azure, Office 365, AWS, GCloud, Co-Location, and other services within your tech estate. Even if your business systems are 100% on-premises, you must anticipate an event where you cannot successfully recover to your corporate owned data centers, and whether your DR solution has the capability to recovery to temporary locations like cloud services in a worst case scenario.

Lastly, does your organization have the resources and skillsets to support backup and disaster recovery? Or better yet, do you want to own this responsibility? BCDR objectives are just that—they don’t articulate how the goals must get done, nor do they require that an already-stretched IT team deliver the service organically. Manufacturers depend on robust DR solutions that work, but these solutions are frequently not the most exciting or well-supported objectives for a manufacturing company.

Ask yourself, would it be better to augment or outsource your BCDR solutions to a company better suited for the task? Would this open up my staff to focus on more value-added challenges for our business? The answer is probably YES. Utilizing a world-class disaster recovery service frees you from many of the distracting and monotonous tasks of managing a successful DR program.

New Solutions for DR Success

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a great option to augment or replace your existing DR solution. Whether you’re focused on documents, business applications, or data, consider how DRaaS can be used to reduce downtime and quickly restore business operations.

Modern DRaaS offerings are built to integrate with a diversity of infrastructure and partners, meaning we can recommend you a trusted service provider that understands your technology estate and can successfully manage the backups and disaster recovery process. These offerings also help to optimize network flexibility, accelerate recovery times, ensuring your business meets its recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO), along with regulatory compliance, transparent pricing models, and a range of support services.

With advanced automation and orchestration, manufacturers can effectively recovery their diverse hybrid landscape with greater visibility, price predictability, meet insurance or regulatory compliance requirements, and most importantly, access expert advice, services, and fast recovery times to keep their business operational. To learn more about Connection’s Manufacturing Practice or to discuss challenges and solutions associated with modern disaster recovery strategies, including Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) as highlighted in this article, contact us today.

Ryan Spurr is the Director of Manufacturing Strategy at Connection with 20+ years of experience in manufacturing, information technology, and portfolio leadership. He leads the Connection Manufacturing Practice, go-to-market strategy, client engagement, and advisory services focusing on operational technology (OT) and information technology that make manufacturers more digitally excellent.