Data Backup and Recovery Should Be Your Priority.
If you’re an IT person, you’ve probably experienced the daunting challenge of explaining technical matters to colleagues with non-technical backgrounds. Particularly in the case of explaining technology to executives, you need to be able present your case from a perspective that makes sense to them.
You’ll need to make sure that you and your audience have a shared understanding of basic concepts. For example, does your CFO understand that data backup must also include effective retrieval of backed up data? Do they understand the concepts of automation and retention? Are they aware of any financial penalties the company face if it fails to meet regulatory requirements?
You’ll also need to present the business need for backup and recovery in a way that makes sense to them. While you might expect a CFO to automatically understand the need to mitigate risk, this is not always the case. Their primary focus is often on reducing costs; it will be up to you to make a compelling argument that failure to mitigate the risks potentially associated with data loss is likely to be more costly in the long run.
IT managers often compare backup and recovery processes to insurance to make this point. Discussing backup and recovery as a type of insurance that offers financial risk management in case of disaster is likely to appeal to a CFO or other executive whose primary concern is budget.
In this vein, providing your CFO with actual costs for ineffective backup and recovery can help to illustrate your point. Break down, as accurately as possible, the costs associated with lost employee productivity, lost revenue, and the costs associated with recovering data. Will you need to bring in outside help to assist with recovering data from unreliable tape backups? Is it possible you’ll you need to hire computer forensics experts to recover data from hard drives that are not currently being backed up properly?
It’s also worthwhile to touch on less quantifiable losses. Will your clients lose confidence in your ability to deliver your services or products reliably? Will your company be liable for failures associated with any data loss?
You should also explain to your CFO the ways in which your proposed data backup and recovery plan will make sure your company is getting the most value for its money. Be prepared to discuss the scalability of your proposed solution to your data needs, so you can assure your CFO that your company will be able to spend only what it needs to at any given time.
Keeping operational costs down will also be appealing. For example, be prepared to describe how your solution takes less time to recover data, or requires very little human intervention to perform and monitor backups.
It’s up to you to go beyond mere technical explanations when you discuss data backup and recovery with the decision makers in your company. And you can’t assume that they have a clear grasp of the risks the company faces or the advantages of any solutions you propose. Framing your discussion from their perspective will help you to help them to make the right choices for everyone’s success.