DISASTER RECOVERY BEST PRACTICES
Having an up-to-date, thorough disaster recovery (DR) plan is essential to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster. 50% of businesses without a business continuity plan fail following a major disruption, so you don’t want to gamble with your company’s livelihood.
Your disaster recovery plan should take into account your fail-over plan, whether this a fail-over into a virtualized environment or a second redundant physical site. If it’s an actual physical site, then this second, redundant site must have both the hardware and software required to run your businesses’ critical business applications.
The redundant site must also have the same data set as in the primary site. In other words, the data at the primary site must be kept in sync with the data at the redundant location until the event of a disaster.
In addition to the redundant site, hardware and software, your businesses’ DR plan should include:
- the expected down time of services, if any
- action plans to address business functionality in potential downtimes and
- escalation procedures.
Your plan should also determine which systems must have full functionality and which systems can be minimized with the least impact to business operations.
Another important consideration is whether you want your “failover” to happen automatically, which would cause the failover to occur as a result of even the smallest network “hiccup,” and would subsequently require you to fail back to your primary site after this occurrence, or, if you want to manually control the failover to your redundant site. Another consideration of an automatic failover feature is the expense.
A well-designed DR plan should also include specific information related to the plans’ implementation, such as a list of the critical staff that will carry out the plan and a description of their roles in executing the plan. It is important to include any vendors who may be affected, or who could offer support in a disaster situation in your business’ DR plan.
The major goals of your businesses disaster recovery plan should be:
- To minimize interruptions to normal business operations
- To limit the extent of damage and disruption
- To minimize economic impact of the interruption
- To establish alternative means of operating in advance of any disaster
- To train personnel with emergency procedures
- To rapidly restore service.
In conclusion, a well-designed DR plan is specific to the one business for which it was developed. That plan should include a thorough risk assessment of potential disasters that could affect your business, an inventory and prioritization of necessary hardware, software or virtualized environment needed to support your ongoing business operations, a description of the DR plan implementation team members’ roles and responsibilities and a commitment to test the plan regularly.
If your business lacks a robust DR plan, learn more about developing one here.
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