A better approach, experts say, is to develop a plan that prevents a disaster from taking systems down in the first place. But creating mirrored sites, where a company's data, applications, and IT infrastructure are replicated, costs money, and some businesses would rather pay the cost of downtime.
Nick Voutsakis, chief technology officer at the Glenmede Trust Co., a wealth-management company, took advantage of such a locale on July 7 when power was accidentally cut to all of 1 Liberty Place, the tallest building in Philadelphia. About 50 designated people from Glenmede's headquarters went to either the company's Wilmington, Del., campus or a nearby SunGard facility.
Power was out at 7:30 a.m., and an uninterruptible power supply backup system let Voutsakis' staff conduct a "graceful shutdown," with some core apps routed to a location 45 miles away. All necessary apps were up and running at the SunGard center at 11:30, after phone access was established.
"SunGard can bring resources to bear and is at my beck and call," Voutsakis says. "It's well worth whatever we spend."
Businesses rely too much on recovery, Standish Group analyst Jim Johnson says. "If you have to recover, you've lost time and money," he says. "The goal still needs to be an infrastructure so automatic that the time to recover is zero."