Are You Taking Active Directory Forest Recovery Serious Enough? Recent Survey Says No

Peer Survey Highlights: Active Directory Forest Recovery Needs Attention

Cayosoft recently sponsored a survey on Active Directory (AD) forest recovery, in partnership with, the IT Knowledgedatabase. Over 1,000 IT professional were surveyed and uncovered some interesting findings. Below are a few highlights. To learn more, check out the full survey report.

1. The topic, AD forest recovery, is hot

Original plans projected the survey to run for several weeks, if not longer, to reach the desired goal of 250 respondents. Fortunately, that goal was achieved, and then some, in a little over a weeks time. In total, the survey had over 1,000 respondents, involving multiple titles and audiences, and multiple varying sized organizations. With this amount of data, the results to most questions could be broken down in four ways – overall answer, SMB (below 1,000 employees), mid-size (1,001 to 10,000 employees), and enterprise (10,000 and above employees).

2. 172% increase in AD forest outages since 2021

In 2021, Cayosoft ran a similar survey on Active Directory recovery (see the 2021 report here). The survey asked if they had experienced an AD forest outage. At that time, only 29% said they had experienced one. Fast forward to this new survey and that number has jumped to 79%, representing a 172% increase in just a few years. 90% of enterprises report experiencing an AD outage, more than the other two categories (Mid – 79%, SMB – 65%). The reasons for the increase fall into 3 common answers, accounting for 97% of responses – cyberattacks, faulty hardware or environment, and human error.

3. Dangerous lack of AD recovery testing

Though daily testing could significantly reduce the length of AD outages, 73% of respondents reported testing less than once per month, with almost a quarter (23%) testing just once per year. In addition, most don’t fully test by bringing back a functioning Active Directory accepting logins. This creates a false confidence, assuming the backup will work when needed, only to find it fails at the most critical of times.

4. Outdated recovery solutions cause unnecessary delays

The survey also revealed 90% of enterprises must rebuild or have clean servers on standby for AD forest recovery (Mid – 70%, SMB – 65%). This adds time to an already lengthy process. So even before you start the recovery process you must purchase and configure the new server (deploy OS, config network, update drivers, etc.), install Windows Server (authoritative restore, metadata & DNS cleanup, etc.). Then you must address the changes between present and last good backup. This process could add six hours, or more, to the recovery process. When organizations have so much at stake, minutes matter. Fast, AD forest recovery is key.

5. Organizations of every size are drastically underestimating the cost of AD downtime

The most popular answer: 70% expect to lose at least $100k per day, in labor costs alone. This response uncovers a stark discovery. For example, based on an average salary of $75k per year, an enterprise with 15,000 employees risks losing over $4.5M per day just in lost labor expense during AD downtime (see below for calculations). A 5,000-employee organization would experience $1.5M in lost labor a day, and 1,000-employee organization would lose at least $300k per day. These numbers are much higher compared to what people think they will lose, demonstrating a significant disconnect between perceived cost of AD downtime and reality. Also, this is only representative of one impact of an outage – labor expense. What about the cost and impacts on suppliers, partners, and ultimately customers?

Lost Labor Calculations

The real cost of Active Directory downtime is massive. The below example illustrates the expense from lost labor at different size groups, not including costs due to lost revenue or other financial impacts of an AD outage:

AD Forest Recovery Survey Blog - Wage Loss Calculations_Enterprises
AD Forest Recovery Survey Blog - Wage Loss Calculations_Mid
AD Forest Recovery Survey Blog - Wage Loss Calculations_SMB


Active Directory outages are on the rise. If you’ve not experienced one, it’s time to get prepared. Most organizations have a false sense of recovery time and ease, drastically underestimating the impacts. Mix increasing cyberattacks and modern environment complexity and we have a recipe for major problems. Read more below about what your peer survey participants think about the topic of AD forest recovery.

Instant AD Forest Recovery Only from Cayosoft

Cayosoft offers the only patent-pending modern approach to AD forest recovery that recovers your AD in a matter of minutes vs multiple hours to days with alternatives. As we’ve highlighted above, the impact in days, hours, and minutes is likely more significant that originally thought.

To learn more, read this case study where a Financial Services Organization Chooses Cayosoft’s Instant Active Directory Forest Recovery Over Semperis and Quest.

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