More on DR planning - Overkill?

I had an interesting conversation about disaster readiness and preparation yesterday. The gentleman I was talking with said he found it funny how much scrutiny offshore operations centers get for DR planning. I had mentioned that my "multi-vendor" strategy always includes contingencies for wide-scale long-term power and network outage. He found that funny, and when I asked him why, what he said really made me think.

His point was that many (possibly most) firms do put a lot of effort into DR plans for their offshore centers. They come up with elaborate schemes to handle the situation wherein their city of choice loses power or network, floods, has an earthquake, etc.

Many of those same companies have no such plan for themselves. They have no way to handle the relatively likely event of an earthquake in their Silicon Valley development center, or a long-term power outage in their Omaha data center.

So I thought a little bit about the large and small scale disasters I listed in my own experience, in yesterday's post. Here's the breakdown on these, of "insourced" versus "outsourced" impact:

  • Ice storms in Pennsylvania. That was the insourced team.
  • Tamil rebel bombings in Sri Lanka. That was the outsourced team.
  • Large scale demonstrations in India. That was the outsourced team.
  • Flooding in Mumbai India. That was the outsourced team.
  • The 2004 tsunami in Asia. That was the outsourced team.
  • Virus infection in a lab in Massachusetts. That was the insourced team..
  • Power outage in a lab in Massachusetts. That was the insourced team.
  • Flooding in New Orleans. That was the insourced team.
  • Fires in Southern California. That was the insourced team.
The final tally:

  • DR impact for Insourced Team: 5 events in recent memory.
  • DR impact for Outsourced Team: 4 events in recent memory.
So, by my small unscientific sample set, you're about as likely to have a disaster in your offshore center as you are in your retained onshore center.

So a point to ponder for all the readers on the client side of global sourcing partnerships -- why do you put so more effort into your offshore DR plan than you do into a general disaster readiness plan that encompasses all your sites?

Seriously, e-mail me or add comments, because I'd love to know your thoughts on this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We put less planning into domestic disaster plans out of a belief that US infrastructure is far superior to and more responsive than foreign infrastructure. I think the thought process is “Sure we may have weather related problems or issues like brush fires from time to time but we bounce back really, really quickly.”

Try telling that to the people who worked in the WTC or New Orleans.