A severe thunderstorm isn’t the only way that disaster can befall a company. Outages can come from the most unlikely of scenarios, whether from a broken water pipe that floods expensive equipment or a failed A/C unit that makes it impossible to work. No matter the incident, it’s important to have an effective disaster recovery (DR) plan in place.
How Much Downtime Can Be Tolerated?
Some companies can afford to be down for hours, while others can’t tolerate being down for a few seconds. An organization should have a recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) that best suits its needs while respecting the organization’s technical and financial limitations.
Know Thy Inventory
Every DR plan worth following should have an inventory of the organization’s hardware and applications, with each asset listed in order of importance to overall operations. Contact numbers and other support contract information should also be included with each asset.
Backups Aren’t Just for Systems
A good DR plan always has personnel identified in clearly defined roles with clear responsibilities. For the greatest possible efficiency, all parties must understand each other’s roles in the DR process and have valid emergency contact information. These plans must have involvement from the entire staff, including C-level executives.
What’s in an SLA?
For companies using colocation facilities and third-party IT firms for outsourced work and assets, it’s important to know how much service is available according to the service level agreement (SLA). Having a binding agreement in place can help get the organization back on its feet in a short amount of time.
Communication Is Key
Organizations should also work out how employees will communicate with one another and have the access they need to critical systems during a DR event. Customers also need reassurance during a DR event, making status updates on the company’s website and on social media invaluable.
Make Plans for Off-site Work
There also needs to be a secondary location set up if employees aren’t able to return to the primary office. Not only should there be clear directions to get to the site, but the site itself should be large enough and have enough seats to accommodate employees.
Make Plans for Handling Sensitive Data
Every DR plan should also include provisions for accessing and maintaining sensitive data. This includes creating operational and technical procedures to prevent the information from being destroyed or compromised during a DR procedure.
Testing Is Key
Regular testing can help identify potential weaknesses in a DR plan, giving organizations the opportunity to make changes before those weaknesses make themselves apparent during an actual disaster. Plans for DR testing should include detailed information on the testing environment, the methods to be used, and how often the tests are to be conducted. Simulated disasters and drills should also be run to gauge staff responsiveness during an actual event.
It’s important to consider all of the above when creating an effective disaster recovery plan. Contact us and learn how eXemplify’s disaster recovery solutions can benefit your business today.