In the words of the Disaster Recovery Journal, “there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the appropriate distance between your data center and your recovery site.” For some businesses, a good disaster recovery site could be as far away as 1,000 miles. Most large companies are capable of building and managing disaster recovery sites of their own, but that means they have to pay for power, management, land use and operating expenses for two or more sites. Determining the appropriate distance between sites for your business is a personal affair based exclusively on your needs and requirements. While there are a number of important considerations to take into account when planning your business continuity efforts, the one we hear about time and again is how much distance is really necessary between the main work site (where business information is obtained and used) and a disaster recovery site (where business information is replicated for restoration purposes and work can be performed in the event of catastrophe). Between 2007 and 2010, however, the average distance between a primary data center and its furthest backup data center seemed to shrink—the majority of surveyed companies that had disaster recovery sites appeared comfortable with distances of less than 100 miles, and many (a full 21 percent) were comfortable with distances of less than 25 miles.
While the prospects of needing a recovery site may not seem likely, research from Forrester indicates the impacts of such an event can be substantial.


Unless your company is very large, building your own recovery site is financially out of the question. If you plan on managing your recovery site with your own IT resources, you’ll need to consider the importance of accessibility in the event of a disaster.
These providers will offer disaster recovery site services based on monthly costs that don’t fluctuate with changes in the tax code, power costs or salary inflation.
If your business is in the line of fire for hurricanes, for example, then you will want to look for a recovery site that is more than 100 miles away from your main site—this should prevent a hurricane event from taking out both your main site and your recovery site. Before you build a disaster recovery plan and select a recovery site, know where individuals will work and what applications must be recovered (and in what order) and how fast they need to be or can be recovered.
Your staff will not only need to be able to physically access the site (meaning, you won’t want to have it too far away from your primary location), but you’ll also have to consider if they are willing to leave their families in the midst of a disaster.


If your business instead faces threats from tornadoes, 10 miles is an appropriate distance for your recovery site. Generally, the farther one site is from another, the higher the delay in the delivery of each packet, or “latency.” If your recovery site is too far away, your data might not mirror in real time, and thus, a disaster could cause some data loss. If you choose a site too far away, it may be too difficult or impossible for staff to trek to the site to restore the business to normal operation. In other words, don’t select a site that is farther away than needed simply because you think you’re being safer in doing so.



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