Key Strategies for Disaster Recovery Planning

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As we have seen this year IT disasters can come from natural forces such as a hurricane or flood or from the cyber world in the form of data breaches.  The best way to prepare is to do just that make sure you are prepared.  All too often disaster recovery planning is shelved for other priorities.  In today’s world where customers expect 24/7 availability and your company’s data is also its lifeblood, disaster recovery planning can no longer be a secondary project.

ZDNet in a recent article provided these strategies to improve your disaster recovery solution. Here is a summary:

  • Optimize your power back up. What tactics do you have in place for when a power outage occurs?  How long can your backup system manage during an outage?  Look for ways to optimize your backup choices for more efficiency
  • Examine your cloud options. Using cloud services even if it is just for redundancy can be a real life-saver during a disaster event.
  • Make sure you have failover options. Just as you would with your on-premise systems, explore what would happen if your IT vendor also experiences a disaster event
  • Explore the benefits of virtualization. Virtualization can be a key component in your IT toolbox to mitigate downtime if a disaster occurs
  • Back up your data. As data grows it can become more costly to take a one-size-fits all approach to backup.  Instead talk with a knowledgeable IT partner to discuss your options to tier your data and utilize the most cost-effective and secure backup methods

During disaster recovery planning ZDNet also recommends an examination of your network solution and capabilities.  First, having network redundancy will help you mitigate risk, because you are no longer tied to just one connection.  Next, segmenting your network can be a great way to contain cyberattacks to just one area of your system.  Finally, make sure you are using a modern, updated firewall.

Today’s IT teams have to wear many hats, but today’s IT threats demand the right expertise to mitigate risk and downtime and to protect data. Our experienced team is here to work with you to ensure your company develops an effective disaster recovery solution.

Risky Business Continuity Planning Assumptions

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In a previous blog post we talked about several common misconceptions that companies have about their business continuity solutions that make their disaster recovery plans less effective. Those three misconceptions were:

  • Assuming employees can work from home. Not true since even employee homes could have damage and loss of access
  • Assuming the communication plan is fully fleshed out. It is important to remember all stakeholders in a disaster event and that includes employees, business partners and customers
  • Assuming the data backup solution will make restoring no problem. A one-size-fits-all solution is not the most effective way to backup your data. A better approach is to tier your data and applications by importance and look to a variety of data backup solutions that can help speed recovery of crucial pieces.

Today, let’s add to that list and talk about two other risky assumptions that are common with business continuity planning.

Risky Assumption #1 – My disaster recovery plan works because it is tested every year.

Unfortunately, a yearly test is not viable in today’s data center environments.  More data, the combination of physical and virtual infrastructures and fast changing applications mean that your periodic testing may not be in sync with your data center as it is at the present moment.  Also many times tests only occur for a subset of data and systems vs. full-scale testing. Testing can be expensive and time-consuming for most organizations. Cloud-based business continuity and disaster recovery solutions can be the key to gaining not only more comprehensive testing but also access to expertise and skills that your team may not have which could ultimately speed recovery when it is needed.

Risky Assumption #2 – The plan works because we successfully recovered our data and systems.

The initial recovery is one piece of a disaster recovery plan. A complete business continuity solution needs to also account for failover, or the process of returning operations back to the production environment.  This too challenges many data center teams because employees lack the expertise needed for seamless failover processes.

Create a more effective business continuity solution.

If these assumptions sound familiar to you, it may be time for you to sit down with a trusted IT partner to assess your business continuity and disaster recovery solution.  You may be surprised to learn about new technologies in disaster recovery, like cloud, that can bring you more protection and faster recovery.  Contact Evolving Solutions and let our team help you better protect your data.

Business Continuity Solutions – Common Misconceptions

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Most businesses are not in the “business” of disaster recovery and business continuity.  Your IT team is focused on your specific industry and customers and the IT solutions and systems that support your bottom line.  At the enterprise-level, IBM found that just a little over 6% of IT budgets are spent on disaster recovery and business continuity solutions.  Most companies of any size create a plan and test it periodically but that is it.  That sounds fine at first, but today’s challenges require that your business continuity solution and disaster recovery plan become ever-evolving and not a periodic item to be checked off the list.  Today when disaster strikes the risks are more than just a systems outage, there is also the risk of a breakdown in customer trust.

Here are three common misconceptions that IT teams often have about business continuity that reduce the effectiveness of their disaster recovery plans.

  • My employees can work from home in a disaster scenario. This is not always the case. In a weather event your employees may have damage at their own homes, loss of access to connect or even have had to evacuate from the local area.

 

  • My communication plan adequately covers employees and supply chain partners. You may have a detailed communication plan in place to talk to employees and business partners but what about your customers? Today’s disaster recovery plans need a fully fleshed out communication plan that covers all key stakeholders and takes into account the variety of channels available from phone and text to news media and social media channels.

 

  • My data is all backed up so restoring it will be no problem. Not so true.  It is great to have a data backup solution in place, but have you examined how that backup solution will work in relation to an actual disaster.   It may be necessary to tier your applications and data for importance vs. a one-size-fits approach.  Different data backup solutions can offer faster recovery of your most critical systems and data.

Working with a partner with disaster recovery expertise can help you design a business continuity solution that takes into account the right hardware – for both inside and outside of your data center -, including whether a cloud-based disaster recovery is right for your business. Evolving Solutions works with clients from the early assessment stage all the way through to planning and implementation. Contact us to learn more about how the right business continuity solution can help your business recover faster.

Stay tuned for our next blog post with more helpful information on disaster recovery and business continuity solutions.