Not that long ago, disaster recovery often simply entailed organisations making back-ups of critical files and a staff member taking tape back-ups home “just in case” anything happened.
Of course, the IT field has evolved considerably since those simpler times. Yet, many organisations aren’t keeping pace with current disaster recovery technology and standards. Failing to update your approach to disaster recovery doesn’t leave your organisation at risk during a catastrophe — it puts your organisation at risk every day. Taking a holistic approach to disaster recovery planning — with the help of a DR or data centre services provider — will help you cover each minute detail so your organisation is ready to withstand the simplest and worst of unplanned incidents.
The Full Scope of Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery is not simply what you do when the disaster strikes, but what you do to mitigate risk and ensure business continuity for technology and the related processes. CSO Online defines disaster recovery as the “planning and processes that help organisations prepare for disruptive events — whether those events might include a hurricane or simply a power outage caused by a backhoe in the parking lot.” Preparing for such an event, whether it be hurricane or errant backhoe, means creating and maintaining a solution that covers:
- Scalability that accounts for new processes and data beyond planned growth
- Redundancy of critical servers and infrastructure — particularly for customer-facing processes
- Failover systems that continue business operations if a disaster strikes
- Secure back-ups that aren’t harmed in an emergency and can be retrieved as soon as possible
- Vetting all SaaS programs to ensure vendors meet your disaster recovery standards
- Written and known procedures for your staff to follow in a disaster, and for end-users if their workflow changes during the process of an event
Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan
Like most large-scale IT projects, the process of crafting a disaster recovery plan will demand two very important elements:
- A large majority of your staff’s time and resources, likely meaning an adjustment in their day-to-day duties that could hamper operations
- Experts who are familiar with the best disaster recovery technology and protocols, particularly if you’re in a highly regulated industry
Instead of continually postponing planning until your internal resources are available and the stars have aligned, you can rely on a disaster recovery partner to guide your business through the process. Besides freeing your staff, a team of experts will help you:
- Assess how all business processes — inside IT and within your organisation — will be affected during a disaster
- Audit your infrastructure, technology and technology vendors to determine gaps in disaster recovery, including redundancy and failovers
- Draft plans for everyone in your organisation that explain any alternate workflows, work locations or different technology to use during a disaster
- Manage the implementation of disaster recovery technology and plans
If your fellow executives question the cost of this project, a cost-benefits analysis demonstrating how much business you’ll lose during days of downtime if you didn’t have a plan versus how much you’ll lose if a catastrophe strikes and you were prepared properly will likely make them start humming a different tune. But most importantly: Start planning now. After all, you never know when that backhoe will strike.