First Column IT blog
Important Elements of Disaster Recovery
Imagine having a data backup and disaster recovery solution, thinking you’re prepared to handle anything that comes your way. Then disaster strikes and recovery is impossible. If you had tested your solution beforehand, it may have been possible to prevent this misstep entirely. What kind of disasters need to be prepared for, and how can you make sure your testing takes them into account?
What Kind of Disasters Do You Need to Prepare For?
First, you’ll need to outline the disasters that you should be prepared for. As they say, you should always plan for the worst-case scenario, and no event should be kept from consideration.
- User Error: Everyone makes mistakes, and the results vary wildly from minor inconveniences to major problems that affect multiple users. This includes accidental deletions, shadow IT, and other issues that could place your business in a bad spot if unprepared for.
- Key Staff Unavailability: What would happen if someone with important knowledge or permissions were to suddenly be away from the office due to some accident, personal emergency, or other reason? If this access is exclusive, your business could be placed in a precarious situation.
- Equipment Failure: Most modern businesses rely heavily on technology of some sort, and that technology requires an infrastructure. If these were to fail, what would you do? Important processes and procedures could be interrupted.
- Malware: Malware is a constant threat to businesses, and it has evolved over the years to become a force to be reckoned with. Considering how many different ways there are for hackers to initiate threats, you need to be vigilant at all times to avoid it from becoming an issue.
- Natural Disasters: Most businesses fear natural disasters of certain types, and it’s largely due to their geographic location. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, electrical storms… these are all risks that businesses need to consider when planning out their disaster recovery plan. While not all organizations will be susceptible to the same types of disasters, they all need to have a plan to address the specific situations they might find themselves in.
- The Unexpected: Some scenarios are impossible to imagine, so it’s best to simply prepare for anything.
How to Be Sure You’re Properly Prepared
When it comes to preparing and evaluating your data backup solutions, you should regularly go through the process to make sure that the strategy is sufficient. You need to make a routine out of it so that the plan can be administered in a moment’s notice. Malware, natural disasters, and other threats aren’t going to wait until you’re prepared, so take time to evaluate your processes and ensure your employees are aware of them, too.
This frequent testing should be designed to evaluate the technical aspect of your disaster recovery plan, as well as your team’s ability to carry it out. As you collect data from these tests, you need to update the plan and resolve any issues that become known. There is no room for error in your recovery tests, as the future of your business depends on it.
Tests to Run
Here are some of the types of backup tests that you should administer on a semi-regular basis:
- Walkthrough Test: This is simply a basic review of the plan, reading it over to ensure that everyone involved remains updated to any possible changes that may have been made.
- Tabletop Test: Similar to a tabletop game, someone from each department comes in and is given a hypothetical disaster scenario. Each team member should explain what they would do in their given scenario. This is useful in revealing possible shortcomings in a business’ existing strategy.
- Parallel Test: These tests are meant to evaluate how well the restoration process works, using a virtual machine to “restore” your system, which continues to run in your usual infrastructure.
- Full Interruption Testing: This test is one of the most in-depth, but also the most risk-laden, as it could lead to actual downtime. In fact, some industries have regulations barring this kind of test, so be sure to double-check with your IT resource that this option is available to you.
Disaster recovery is such an important part of business that you can’t take any chances with it. If you want help making sure that your solution will work as intended when you need it to most, reach out to us at 703-880-6683.