Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster Recovery PlanIf you live on the West Coast, you’ve undoubtedly heard or maybe even felt the rumblings of 200+ small earthquakes that have rattled the San Andreas Fault over the past several days. Many scientists believe that this is just the beginning and the dreaded “big-one” could be around the corner. If you live on the East Coast, you may have already been evacuated as Hurricane Matthew begins to touch down in parts of Florida, after already wreaking havoc on the Caribbean. Needless to say, disasters are tragic, oftentimes life-threatening events that no one person or business can ever totally be prepared for. Remember Murphy’s Law: “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Whether in your personal life or in business, it always pays to have some sort of Disaster Recovery Plan in place. For purposes of this article, we will be focusing on a disaster recovery plan for your business. A successful disaster recovery plan can prevent you from incurring numerous costs and headaches, not only for yourself, but for your business. Some benefits include faster recovery times, better reliability and flexibility, real-time data replication, scalability and more. When setting up your own disaster recovery plan, there are a few main steps you need to take. We’ll examine those below.

Step 1: Development
When developing your disaster recovery plan, you must look at your entire organization rather than just the IT department. If only half of your organization is functioning properly after a disaster, your plan has failed. First, organizations must analyze and define both Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO). Secondly, your business must consider what data is mission critical and what data you could tolerate losing. Lastly, your business must analyze whether or not additional connectivity is needed for your disaster recovery plan to work. A good plan is great, but if people cannot reach their documents in a time of crisis, it is rendered useless.

Step 2: Testing
Once your plan has been developed and implemented, proper and realistic testing is necessary to identify any weaknesses or gaps in your disaster recovery. An untested plan is a failed plan. Maintain a full copy of your mission critical data outside of your production region and do live testing without causing significant system disruption. A major mistake most companies make is only having one or two people fully trained to run the company’s disaster recovery plan. A successful plan has several people fully trained on the plan, in addition to some whom are outside the production region, in the event that someone becomes sick, is on vacation or is no longer with the company.

Step 3: Updating
Now that your disaster recovery plan is fully developed and tested, your business is fully prepared in the event of a disaster right? Wrong. Another huge mistake organizations make is not updating their plans. You must ensure that all production changes have been properly reflected in your plan. If you’ve deployed a new application system and have moved some applications into the cloud, your old disaster recovery plans are outdated and irrelevant.

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes, from large scale to a localized issue. It’s important to understand how to best design a solution to ensure the smallest interruption to your business as possible. Get prepared with a FREE Onsite Disaster Recovery Assessment from a KeyInfo specialist.

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Author: Drew W.
Key Information Systems