Disaster Recovery Planning

scream10 tips for disaster planning

Successful disaster recovery depends on having a realistic and well understood set of objectives based on your business needs. This involves planning and preparation:

  • From the business impact analysis
  • Understanding and quantifying risks
  • Classifying and prioritising applications and data recoverability

Your Disaster Recovery plan should also be documented. But this isn’t a one off exercise; the dynamic nature of IT means your plan should be continuously reviewed and updated. Plus continual investment in new technologies to provide higher performance at lower costs is essential as it the need for data backups.

So what are the top 10 tips?

1. Linking your business and IT

The creation of your Disaster Recovery plan should be seen as best practice and not pitted against cost. Cutting corners here could prove very costly indeed so make sure it is integrated with your businesses day to day priorities.

2. Plan across the board

Your Disaster Recovery plan won’t work unless you take all your functional IT areas into consideration. Constantly ask yourself ‘what if’ and think about downtime and your loss tolerances. Your plan also needs to take into account everything during and after a disaster.

3. Keep it current

Although you hope and pray you’ll never need it, your plan should always be at the forefront of peoples’ minds. Once in place make sure it is maintained and amended to reflect your changing IT landscape.

4. Test

Yes it’s a complete pain and quite a major undertaking but how will you know if your plan will work unless you test it? Best to find out its shortfalls before it’s really needed.

5. Be realistic

Being realistic is vital in both your recovery point objective and recovery time objective.

6. Who is responsible?

The last thing you want is everyone heading for the hills when things go wrong. Make sure everyone knows the part they have to play.

7. Risk

Think of your Disaster Recovery Plan as an insurance policy – how much and what kind of insurance does your business need? And what risks are you prepared to take? You could be looking at a disaster such as flood or fire or it could be a systems failure. Take a look at all aspects of your business to make sure everything is covered.

8. Backup

What kind of backup do you use? Make sure  the medium you use works should it be needed. After all there’s no point in having a plan if you can’t retrieve your data.

9. Accessibility

If you house your backup data in an off site premises will you still be able to reach it if you need to? It sounds odd but if your office is victim to a fire and you keep your backup data in a building nearby – are you going to be able to get to it? Is it likely to also be affected?

10. Cost

Disaster Recovery plans can be expensive and is often a cost that many businesses simply can’t absorb. But what’s the alternative? How much will it cost your business if it all goes wrong and you don’t have a plan in place? It should be seen as an investment – it’s your peace of mind that when the worse happens your business will survive.

No one ever wants to think about the bad stuff that can happen but, a fact of life is it will happen to someone sooner or later.

Don’t leave your business exposed. If you’re unsure how to proceed find an expert who can help you with your Disaster Recovery Plan. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.