We instinctively cringe at the concept of disaster recovery. It reminds us that negative events can and do happen when it comes to our data. But, in the end, not having a plan set up will likely be far more unpleasant (and costly) than the process of accepting reality, setting one up, and monitoring it.
While the exposure of your network to some of these data threats can be reduced by using firewalls, up-to-date antivirus software, and Storage Attached Network (SAN) devices, only a well planned, implemented and maintained backup and disaster recovery system can ensure that your network can be restored to normal operation in the event of a failure with the minimum impact.
How to Prepare for the Unexpected
Setting up a complete disaster recovery plan can be a daunting task. To simplify it, many organizations team up with outside companies, like Handy Networks, that specialize in data backup and disaster recovery. As with any team, it is important to establish who handles what role and to make sure that everyone is in the loop so that recovering from different events can be done as swiftly and painlessly as possible.
Preparation involves asking yourself questions like:
- How would you handle a situation where the main servers are not accessible?
- Is there a second, “failover”, location that can run temporary servers using database backups?
- Are the firewalls and routers configured to handle the switch over?
- Will there always be someone available who has access to the password lists, and even the keys to an offsite location?
- It won’t do much good if the only person who has the keys to the off-site backups happens to be on vacation in another country when they are needed.
One very important aspect of disaster recovery that often gets overlooked is testing. Has your plan been tested? If so, when was the last time? Unless you can prove that your databases can be quickly restored or successfully brought up on secondary servers, there really is no effective disaster recovery plan.
Finding a Strategic Partner
Not all companies can implement and manage disaster recovery plans on their own. They lack the staff, expertise, or both. This is where an outside partner company, like Handy Networks, that specializes in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can come in.
We can assume responsibility for off-site backups and set up temporary servers in our hosting location so that, if disaster does strike, your business can resume operations in a comparatively short amount of time. Tasks such as determining what events would require switching over to the secondary servers instead of a simple data restore could be coordinated with your management team so that everyone works together seamlessly.
Every mature organization, regardless of its size, has disaster recovery requirements. As the organization grows, these also need to be regularly revisited to ensure that what you have either meets your requirements or needs to be updated accordingly.
Much like testing the smoke detectors at home, they need to be tested on a regular schedule. Your disaster recovery plans must be proven and the people involved must be trained on what to do and how to work together.
How often are you testing your disaster recovery plan? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
To learn more about how to implement effective disaster recovery plans, download your copy of our free 20+ page eBook: “Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for CIOs.”
Topics: Data Backup