Disaster Often Strikes When You Least Expect It
Disasters can strike at any time -- from devastating weather-related events such as tornadoes, tsunamis, floods or fires, to power outages, ransomware, and even sabotage. There is a whole gamut of events that could affect your flow of business. At the same time, there are a number of ways to design a disaster recovery plan that will effectively put you back in business in the timeliest manner.
A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is typically customized to the individual organization and its needs. Here, we examine what a DRP is, how to create one, some of the critical elements that should be included in its design and how to test it for effectiveness.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
The simple definition of a Disaster Recovery Plan is a well-constructed, step-by-step plan that will allow an organization to continue its mission-critical operations during a catastrophic event. A catastrophic event is defined as any event that causes a partial or total shutdown of a business, preventing it from operating at maximum capacity.
A prime example would be the loss of power; it can have devastating effects on data storage units and back-up devices, causing irretrievable data loss and irreparable damage to the hard drives. Without a disaster recovery plan, this level of damage could put a company out of business due to the loss of historical data files, etc.
Without a DRP in place, the server recovery process, as well as prolonged downtime to restore system data, can cost your company hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions, in lost revenues.
How to Create a DRP
A Disaster Recovery Plan is nothing short of insurance - you set it up to ensure minimum losses and to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible, even if in a limited capacity, keeping your business alive. There are certain, logical steps that should be taken PRIOR to needing such a plan. Similar to buying car insurance, you don't buy the insurance AFTER the accident - it wouldn't do you a bit of good if you did.
- Plan to discuss this with your It Department and any outside services you may engage to create the ultimate redundant backup system.
- Get everyone together to ensure everyone is on the same page. Effective Disaster Recovery planning is about constant communication and interaction among the employees and different stakeholders within the organization. Communications failure will only slow down the recovery process.
- Interview and vet out Critical Response Data Recovery Services in your area. Be sure to inquire whether they store backed up data locally or offsite. You would want to choose someone who backs up the restoration data off-site in order to get you up and running in a temporary facility as quickly as possible. Time is money to you-you need to be back online ASAP.
Critical Response Data Recovery Services can help you develop a DRP that is customized to your business need so that little time is wasted on redundant or unnecessary efforts during the recovery process. They can help determine exactly what support is necessary by prioritizing the restoration of mission-critical applications to ensure that the restored system has the ability to function under sub-optimal conditions.
What to Include in a Disaster Recovery Plan
When faced with the possibility of permanent, unrecoverable data loss, your sense of what to do or not do for emergency data recovery becomes skewed – sometimes we make very poor decisions! With a Data Recovery Plan in place, much of the indecision or poor decision-making can be avoided.
Within the plan, here are some points that should be included:
- All the contact names and contact information of all personnel who will assist in the restoration
- Include all Data Recovery Plan specialists and their contact information
- Assign a point person as well as two alternates who can take charge of the situation and communicate with essential persons
- Decide in advance where you will establish a temporary facility - include all contact information and how to gain access
- Set up "move-out" teams to facilitate the relocation as well as transport vehicles (if possible)
- Set up "move-in" teams to make ready to set up the temporary location
- Have a contact list of all utility personnel who can help you re-establish services to help you get up and running
You Disaster Recovery Plan should be a comprehensive plan that will help you stay focused during stressful catastrophic events. Engage the help of others to relieve the point person on a regular basis to avoid them becoming overwhelmed with the situation that may lead to poor decision-making.
What to Do/Not Do - Preserving your data for recovery
- First and foremost, create a backup policy; back up daily or several times a day; make sure everyone adheres to this policy. In that way, you will experience minimum transactional loss and your historical data will be preserved.
- Train all personnel for different scenarios.
- Do Not entrust your emergency data recovery to your friends or friends of friends.
- Do call the Critical Response Data Recovery Services immediately.
- Do Not continue to power on/off a non-responding drive; this can render the drive unrecoverable. Give your IT professionals the best possible chance to recover your data by following these guidelines.
- Do Not install data recovery software on any drives - this can overwrite current data and can render your critical data unrecoverable.
- Do Not, under any circumstances, run the recovery CD/DVD that came with your PC. This will delete all your data and restore your drive (if restorable) back to factory settings.
...stay calm and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR ANYTHING as this may lead to additional damage. When disasters strike, that is when you need the Critical Response Data Recovery Services. When working with the experts, you are assured that they will handle the process in a fast, professional, and safe manner to recover your files.
Disaster Recovery Preparedness
Your Disaster Response Data Recovery Services can help you test your disaster recovery plan for effectiveness and reliability. By running some of these tests, you can identify any areas that require additional training and prevent avoidable mistakes that may prove unrecoverable.
Testing a disaster recovery plan
Here are 3 tests that will help you determine the effectiveness of your DRP.
Table Top Test
Everyone is involved in the tabletop test, from the top down, to discuss what actions are needed during different disaster scenarios, allowing you to determine if more training is needed.
A simulation test provides a better representation of emergency responses.
In a parallel test, the network/system mirror the current setup; the primary system is shut down to see if the recovery system can withstand the workload.
Do your due diligence - your data recovery will stand a better chance at success.