An electrician may not need servers and technology to operate for a while. An e-commerce business, on the other hand, can ill afford to be down for mere minutes without huge financial implications.
If you are still in the work now, worry later bubble and live under the illusion that you will just continue to operate even when disaster strikes, you will unfortunately fall victim to unpleasant realities.
A disaster recovery (DR) plan is the only way to ensure that IT infrastructure failure does not interrupt your service or cause data loss. Continuous operation is not a buzz phrase, it is what your customers rely on to stay loyal to your brand.
1. What is a disaster recovery plan?
It is a list of actions to restore IT infrastructure services in case of a disaster, with minimal to no impact on users and business operations.
2. Why is a good disaster recovery plan unique?
No universal, one-size-fits-all recovery plan exists – every business should have a unique disaster strategy. Time needs to be spent on a comprehensive business disaster impact analysis for your specific operation and workflow.
This is done by determining the critical recovery points and timeframe needed for each application to be up and running to avoid any kind of loss.
Prioritise what is needed first to survive a disaster – including hardware, software, networks, power and facilities. Critical recovery point priorities can then be grouped in order of highest risk.
Immediate: Applications you need immediately – the ones you cannot do business without, the IT services that support the organisation’s critical business activities.
Essential: Applications you need within 8 – 24 hours – essential, but not needed immediately to continue business operations.
Leeway: Applications needed within a few days.
Once you’ve analysed your critical operation points, contact your IT partner for advice to lower the risk of miscalculating what the possibilities of the recovery are and ensure the most cost-effective solution. It needs to be very clear what is recoverable and by when.
3. Why does the plan need identified roles and responsibilities?
Who is responsible for what? Disaster recovery plans should clearly state the key rules, responsibilities and parties involved. What actions should be performed by whom, to bring the situation back to normal?
- Who makes the decision to declare a disaster?
- Who contacts the disaster recovery team and in what order, to ensure speedy recovery action.
- Where is the reference list of responsible parties with contact numbers and positions visible? (The inventory of hardware and applications – the technical support contracts and contact numbers – to get everything back up and working.)
- Who oversees the disaster recovery communication? If the phones and emails are down – what are the alternative channels of communication used to update staff? A written disaster recovery communication process to reference will assist to align employees, partners and customers.
- Do all staff know and understand the plan and their role in it? Everyone mentioned in your DR plan needs to be trained to fulfill their role.
4. Why must the disaster plan be tested?
This DR plan must be tested to ensure it actually functions optimally in your unique set-up. During testing possible gaps can be identified and remedied before the disaster strikes on the day.
As businesses do fire drills, disaster recovery drills should be routine. Staff change, hardware changes, workloads change, roles change – to confirm IT business continuity as part of a disaster recovery plan, the changing environment must be accommodated to ensure everyone will be optimally prepared when systems go down unexpectedly.
If this sounds daunting, Veeam Backup & Replication software will save you much time and additional resources for testing. With automated recovery verification for backups and replica restore points, it provides a customised testing environment without impact on business production.
Veeam Software Solution
Veeam Software can help to meet recovery time and point objectives (RTPO™) in less than 15 minutes for all applications and data. Evolv Networks provides an easy monthly rental option so you pay only for the virtual machines your business is backing up.
The solution delivers:
- high-speed recovery
- data loss avoidance
- verified recoverability
- leveraged data
- complete visibility
How are failed operations restored in minutes you may ask? A replication mechanism allows instant switching of the failed workload to a ready-to-use “clone” to get the lowest-possible Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
Standby replicas of production software are stored on a remote secondary site or in the cloud. Even if the production site goes down, a remote site remains unaffected by the disaster.
Safe time, mitigate risk and dramatically reduce capital and operational costs – call your Veeam ProPartner and Service Provider, Evolv.