Busting Disaster Recovery Myths

November 21, 2023

Many cybersecurity myths and misconceptions often stem from assumptions and a lack of understanding about IT. One area where misinformation frequently rears its head is in disaster recovery (DR) planning. Disaster recovery plans (DRPs) are sometimes pushed aside by business owners who question their necessity or cost-effectiveness. However, it is crucial to ask yourself: How long would it take to get my business back on track if my data were lost, infiltrated, or corrupted? If you don’t have a clear answer, you need a plan, no matter the size of your business.

We are here to dispel some of the untruths about disaster recovery and encourage you to prepare a well-structured disaster recovery plan to save you resources and safeguard your hard-earned reputation. 

Causes of data loss

Data loss can strike a business from various angles. One of the most common culprits is a storage or technology failure. Hardware or systems can unexpectedly crash, leaving valuable data inaccessible. 

Cyber attacks are also a real threat. Malicious hackers are constantly finding ways to target vulnerabilities in your system to compromise or steal sensitive information. 

In the physical realm, a burglary can result in not only the loss of assets but also critical data, as stolen devices may contain confidential information. Nature, too, can wreak havoc - natural events like a fire, flood, or earthquake can devastate both physical infrastructure and digital records. 

Not all data loss originates from external forces. Human error from within your business, be it a simple mistake or negligence by a staff member, can have profound consequences as well. 

In the complex world of cybersecurity, understanding these sources of data loss is essential for crafting a robust strategy to protect your valuable information.

Why are there so many disaster recovery myths?

Disaster planning encompasses a wide array of elements, from cloud services to storage, backup, disaster recovery planning, and business continuity planning, all playing vital roles in an overall preparedness strategy. For businesses without a comprehensive understanding of these diverse solutions, it is easy to oversee their subtle differences and consider them interchangeable. 

The danger lies in believing that one aspect of DR, like a cloud service, provides an automatic blanket protection against disasters. It is only when a crisis hits that businesses realise their mistake. 

Breaking down the myths of DR and gaining knowledge and clarity about its nuances is key for protecting your business in an ever-evolving IT landscape. Cybersecurity professionals are equipped to train you and your team, helping you set up a solid recovery plan. 

Myth #1: We are not likely to be hit by a disaster

One of the most prevalent disaster recovery myths revolves around the belief that disasters, especially those of a significant magnitude like earthquakes or tsunamis, are unlikely to affect your business. This misconception often arises from the geographic location of a business. If you are situated in an area with infrequent natural occurrences, it is easy to assume your business is immune. Similarly, you may feel secure because you have invested in security measures like alarms to protect your physical premises. 

The reality is that the term "disaster" encompasses a wide range of scenarios, as explored above. No business, regardless of its size or location, is immune to these potential disasters. A robust DRP is designed to address all these eventualities, ensuring that your business can continue to operate effectively, regardless of what type of disaster strikes. 

Myth #2: Cloud services equal surety in disaster recovery 

Many believe that investing in cloud services alone is equivalent to having a comprehensive DRP. Cloud services undoubtedly offer numerous advantages, such as flexibility and accessibility, with built-in protections against certain disasters like hardware malfunctions. Cloud providers also often manage updates and proactively monitor infrastructure to prevent breakdowns. However, it is crucial to recognise that not all disaster scenarios are automatically covered by cloud services.

While cloud services provide security, they are not impervious to breaches or other unexpected events. For instance, a ransomware attack can infiltrate cloud-based services, potentially compromising your data. Additionally, many cloud storage providers have limitations on file recovery periods, averaging around 90 days, which means that if an employee accidentally deleted a file without realising it, it would be lost forever if not recovered in time. 

A comprehensive DR strategy ensures that even in the event of a breach, you have measures in place to mitigate the impact. You can restore cloud backups even years after they were deleted or edited incorrectly, switch to virtual environments, and minimise the threat posed by attackers.

Myth #3: Backup is enough to recover from a disaster

Backups are pivotal for mitigating data loss, but they are just the initial step in disaster preparedness. The distinction between backup and DR is vital, with the former primarily focused on file restoration and the latter addressing the broader scope of resuming business operations after significant disruptions, including access, responsibility, and prioritisation. 

To ensure resilience and business continuity, both backup and DR should be thoughtfully considered and implemented, accounting for various data loss scenarios and the protection of essential business resources beyond data. Data backups, though crucial, should be viewed as one piece within a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy that safeguards the entire business ecosystem.

Myth #4: Disaster recovery is only necessary for large businesses 

When it comes to cybersecurity breaches, in particular, some small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) assume that attackers won’t bother with them, focusing instead on larger enterprises with potentially bigger ransoms or more significant data. However, the reality paints a different picture. While big corporations do invest in robust security measures, they also face bigger budgets, making it challenging for attackers to infiltrate their defences. SMBs, on the other hand, are seen as easier targets, with potentially hundreds of thousands available for exploitation. 

Moreover, smaller businesses are more susceptible to the adverse impacts of attacks. Unlike giants like Google, they lack the resources to meet substantial ransom demands and are more vulnerable to reputation damage that could lead to the loss of their entire client base.

Disasters, whether natural or human-made, can strike any business. SMBs, in particular, should recognise the value of a DRP because unexpected payouts for data recovery can significantly impact tight budgets. 

Myth #5: Our business can’t afford disaster recovery 

Historically, the cost associated with implementing disaster recovery plans deterred many businesses from considering it as a critical investment. The advent of cloud services and virtualisation has reshaped this narrative. These innovations have made disaster recovery accessible and cost-effective for nearly every organisation, leveling the playing field.

Modern disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions have revolutionised the affordability of comprehensive recovery plans. SMBs can now leverage cloud-based DRaaS options that meet their recovery objectives without the need for costly secondary DR sites or extensive infrastructure. 

While the initial investment in disaster recovery planning may vary based on factors like data volume and recovery speed, the expense pales in comparison to the potential financial fallout of a disaster event. 

Myth #6: Downtime doesn’t cost that much 

Many individuals underestimate the true expenses associated with IT or data disasters, often fixating on the cost of hardware replacement. While hardware replacement is a part of the equation, it is just the tip of the iceberg. The real financial impact of downtime lies in the operational standstill it triggers: How long does it take to procure and set up new hardware? How much time will your operations spend in limbo, eroding customer confidence with every passing minute? What about your invaluable data? Without a robust DRP that includes cloud backups, the likelihood of data loss in a disaster looms large, potentially resulting in the loss of critical files, documents, and records.

The financial burdens of downtime can cripple businesses, pushing some to the brink of bankruptcy. Having a comprehensive DRP is a strategic investment in mitigating the financial impact and operational disruption when disasters inevitably occur.

Myth #7: The same response can be used for all disasters

Disasters may come in various forms and cannot be handled with a uniform approach. A hardware theft, for example, will require a different response to a ransomware attack; responsibilities, priorities, reporting, and recovery tasks need to be appropriately specified and allocated in each case. If you rely on a one-size-fits-all strategy, you may leave your business vulnerable and ill-prepared in certain disaster scenarios. 

Performing a thorough disaster risk assessment is a proactive measure that enables your business to pinpoint its vulnerabilities and consider the unique requirements associated with each disaster type. This approach ensures that your organisation can reduce the impact of any catastrophe it may face as effectively as possible. 

Myth #8: Disaster recovery plans are not worth the investment because they never get used

The value of a DRP extends beyond its aid in responding to a disaster situation. DRPs can serve as helpful migration strategies when transitioning data centers or IT providers, ensuring a seamless and secure transfer of critical assets. Additionally, in certain industries, having a well-structured DRP in place may be a compliance requirement, which means you will have regulatory assurance by having one set up. 

Ultimately, however, the peace of mind that comes with knowing how to navigate and recover from a potential disaster is an asset that holds inherent value, making DR planning a wise and strategic investment for businesses of all sizes.

Myth #9: Technology will come to the rescue 

The notion that technology alone will be the lifesaver in DR is a common misconception. Effective DR planning goes beyond relying solely on technical solutions and should focus on prioritising business operations. It is essential to determine the speed at which your systems must be restored, recognising that not all applications hold the same weight in terms of their impact on your business during downtime. Some applications demand near-instant recovery, while others can tolerate longer downtime with less severe operational consequences.

In an ideal scenario, all systems could have real-time backup and recovery capabilities, but the reality is that the associated costs can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, by assessing the importance of each application, you can craft a tiered recovery strategy that aligns with your priorities. This strategy leverages cost-effective recovery options for less critical systems while ensuring that mission-critical applications receive the rapid recovery they require.

Myth #10: Our recovery plan does not need updates 

Creating a DRP is step one. Step two involves keeping it up-to-date. This is especially important when it comes to protecting against cyber attacks. Hackers never cease to innovate new ways to launch attacks, which means that your recovery plan must remain firmly defensive against the latest threat landscape. Continual updates are not just advisable, they are imperative to keep you protected. 

Myth #11: A disaster recovery plan is separate from day-to-day operations 

The complexity of disaster recovery vastly differs from routine troubleshooting; it involves the recovery of multiple critical applications simultaneously. To ensure business continuity and minimise downtime, a well-integrated DRP that harmonises with day-to-day operations is essential, empowering organisations to navigate challenges with agility and confidence.

A crucial element of this integration is fostering clear communication throughout your business. Every team member should be well-versed in the DRP so that when adversity strikes, regardless of its scale or nature, the response is coordinated, efficient, and aligned with recovery time objectives. 

Myth #12: Knowing how to recover time-sensitive apps is enough for disaster recovery

This myth stems from the flawed assumption that disasters are short-lived, lasting only a few hours or days. However, real-world disasters can extend for weeks, and their impact can significantly disrupt your business’s operations. Neglecting higher-tiered environments, such as data warehouses or integrated data reporting systems, may seem manageable in the short term. Still, over time, the consequences can accumulate.

A detailed DRP should encompass the recovery of all critical applications, not just the most time-sensitive ones. This holistic approach ensures that your business can maintain functionality across its entire IT ecosystem, even during extended disruptions. By preparing for a wide range of scenarios and understanding that disasters can have long-lasting effects, you can safeguard your business’s resilience and adaptability in the face of unforeseen challenges.

Myth #13: Conducting a disaster exercise successfully means we are safe

While conducting disaster exercises is an important part of disaster preparedness, it is essential to recognise their limitations. Even after running numerous simulations and meticulously planning for various scenarios, there remains a possibility of unidentified weak points within your IT infrastructure. Disasters, by their nature, are often unprecedented and unexpected events, making it impossible to predict every potential vulnerability. Therefore, maintaining a proactive and vigilant approach to cybersecurity and DR is essential, as it acknowledges the continually changing landscape and the need for regular improvement and adaptation to emerging risks.

Myth #14: We can’t trust another company with our disaster recovery plan 

While it is natural to be concerned about safety, entrusting your DR service to an experienced and well-equipped third party can be the most secure option. Many businesses lack the resources and expertise to implement an all-inclusive DR strategy independently. Attempting to cut costs by handling it in-house can result in suboptimal protection and slower recovery times.

By partnering with a reputable DR service provider, like ITRS, you can leverage our specialised knowledge and infrastructure. We are dedicated to data recovery and handling IT disasters, with experts who have undergone training for precisely these scenarios. Our team ensures that your data remains secure and accessible even in the most challenging situations, providing peace of mind and robust protection for your critical business operations.


In closing, it is important to recognise that the list of disaster recovery myths we have addressed here is by no means exhaustive. To fortify your business against unforeseen disasters, a commitment to ongoing planning, troubleshooting, and time investment is paramount. By embracing the realities dispelled within these myths, you can craft comprehensive DRPs that place data protection and rapid recovery at the forefront. The beauty of today's landscape is that advancements in cost-effective and user-friendly disaster recovery technologies have made it unnecessary to leave your data exposed. With a well-structured DRP firmly in place, your business can ensure the uninterrupted flow of operations even when confronted with adversity. In our increasingly digital world, disaster recovery is not merely a precaution; it is an absolute necessity for preserving and enhancing business resilience.

Contact us to find out how we can help you set up a thorough DRP to bolster your cybersecurity poster. 

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