2024 Gartner® report: Tips to bolster your disaster recovery program
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January 11, 2024

Transform IT disaster and cyber recovery with automation

As we enter 2024, enterprises will look for new ways to mature IT disaster and cyber recovery processes to offset the increase in IT-related business disruptions. While outages have increased, so has the time and cost to fully recover.

It’s imperative for enterprises to improve IT disaster and cyber recovery processes to increase efficiency and productivity while lowering costs. Cutover CEO, Ky Nichol, predicts that automation will be at the heart of recovery, and he’s not the only one to think so. 

Cutover’s recent survey of 300 US and UK technology executives found: 

  • 94% are concerned about recovering from different technology disaster scenarios such as cyber attacks
  • 85% recognize they need to increase investment in disaster recovery (DR) generally
  • 72% note that DR needs to be more automated within the next 12 months to avoid serious service disruption and any associated reputational and financial consequences
  • 85% agree that the best-performing companies in their sector will have automated DR by 2025

The far-reaching benefits of automating IT disaster and cyber recovery

Human error accounts for nearly four-fifths of all IT-related outages, according to Uptime Institute. Manual recovery is often riddled with human error, slow decision making and inefficient workflows. 

Automation can reduce manual, repetitive tasks and therefore reduce human errors. Additionally, it can provide faster recovery times, higher reliability, reduced costs and better compliance. With automated workflows, predefined scripts, and templates, you can significantly reduce the recovery and restoration of your systems and data from hours, days or weeks to minutes.

The benefits of automation stretch beyond just the numbers. Soft benefits like improved IT staff productivity and enhanced customer trust and retention can be gained from incorporating automation into DR processes. For more benefits, read Why disaster recovery automation is imperative to your DR strategy.

Key barriers to automating IT disaster and cyber recovery

If automation is such a great solution, why isn’t every enterprise adopting it? Automation is not an instant or universal solution to IT disaster and cyber recovery challenges. Similar to the process itself, automating recovery is complex. Automating DR processes can be challenging, bringing the complexity of integrating different automation tools and managing multiple environments, platforms, and applications. Additionally, security must be ensured by using encryption, authentication, authorization, and logging mechanisms. Finally, you need to maintain the availability and performance of your automation tools, as well as troubleshoot and resolve any issues or failures.

Many enterprises struggle with incorporating or advancing automation in their businesses. Simply knowing where best to focus automation efforts and the prioritization of services is the number one barrier to automating DR, per Cutover’s research. Enterprises also noted other key barriers: finding suitable vendors or specialist support, skills needed to support a more automated approach, and scalability. Finding the right technology partner, training staff and then scaling automation efforts is challenging, time consuming and often delay implementation. 

A holistic approach: Automate different elements of IT disaster recovery 

When it comes to recovery, most enterprises don’t use just one platform to manage the process. For IT DR, enterprises often incorporate multiple tools from the technology recovery stack, such as their BCM platform, ITSM platform/CMDB, monitoring tools, communication platform and infrastructure tools.  When incorporating automation, enterprises are taking a holistic approach and find importance in integrating across the technology recovery stack. 

Here are some examples of automation tools for IT DR: 

  • AWS and other cloud service providers provide backup and restore data and applications in different regions or zones. 
  • Specialized software like Veeam, Zerto, or Acronis can be used to back up and restore physical and virtual servers, databases, and applications across different environments. 
  • Platforms like Ansible, Puppet, or Chef can be used to configure and manage infrastructure as well as create and execute recovery scripts and workflows. Monitoring and testing recovery plans is also possible with these tools.
  • Automated recovery platforms like Cutover help to actively orchestrate recoveries. They offer recovery testing capabilities and live disaster simulations to ensure DR systems are actionable and effective. Following a testing event, the platform will gather all data and reveal insights on your plan’s performance, such as recovery time actuals (RTAs), which provide a key source of truth for your recovery strategy.

Define an automation strategy: Start small, then scale

As with any large IT project, automating IT DR can be overwhelming. There are multiple solutions and hundreds, if not thousands, of tasks. It’s best to start small and automate simple and frequent recovery tasks. Consider the entire technology recovery stack and interdependencies but integrate each tool in a phased approach. Ensure you are testing and verifying automation processes regularly and thoroughly with different scenarios and metrics to guarantee both functionality and effectiveness.

Cutover’s research found that 85% of enterprises agree that the best-performing companies in their sector will have automated DR by 2025. Don’t fall behind the curve, learn more about automating your IT DR with Cutover Integration Suite or contact Cutover here.

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