Creating a Fail-safe Data Centre Disaster Recovery Plan

Whether you host the bulk of your infrastructure in your own data centre, a third-party data centre or a mix of both, you need a data center disaster recovery plan. These plans differ from the traditional disaster recovery plan as they take into account the actual data centre, its location, infrastructure and environmental systems, amongst other things. A DR plan, whilst still necessary, deals more with the actual IT systems that could be disrupted during an outage or event and the process of recovering them. The right data centre services provider can help you create your plan whether it’s for your own data centre or a third-party facility.

Check the operations

Depending on your arrangement, this exercise could involve input from internal data centre teams, external data centre providers and other resources. Anything related to the data centre infrastructure you use should be considered in your assessment. This will include building and floor plans, environmental features and network configuration documents. If you’re using a third-party facility, they might already have their own data centre disaster recovery plan. If you’re relying on your own facility, you’ll need to assess the biggest potential issues that could affect the data centre, such as security breaches and power outages, which types of disruptions have affected you in the past and what the current process is for addressing them.

Depending on the information you uncover, you might need to retest certain procedures and redefine the maximum outage time you can bear. You’ll also want to ensure you know which key staff will need to be available to respond to data centre incidents and whether they need any additional training or retraining. In addition, outline the response procedures of any third-party providers and if they ran smoothly last time they were used.

Know your gaps

Mining this information will give you a current-state picture of what you are missing in your data centre disaster recovery plan strategy. It will also help you identify the most pressing risk scenarios, whether they are related to nature, security or human error. You’ll aim to list these potential situations in order of impact, seriousness and probability to help formulate the proper steps and procedures to take to respond to them. Then you’ll outline how to achieve your desired future state of data centre readiness and what this will require in terms of resourcing, staff training and budget.

After the plans are reviewed and next steps are actioned, the data centre disaster recovery plan should be tested and implemented once any tweaks needed are made. Going forward, you’ll want to schedule regular audits of the plan to ensure it still meets your business’s needs and reflects the current state of your data centre assets and arrangement.

Remember to enlist the help of your data centre services provider or hosting facility in creating your data centre disaster recovery plan. Their expertise will help ensure all your bases are covered so you have the most protection from potential outages and incidents.

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