The implications of a data centre disaster for any business are soberingly clear, yet a surprising number of businesses are unable to say they have an effective and proven disaster recovery plan in place. Consequently, fast and reliable disaster recovery and data restoration in the event of catastrophe is crucial. Follow these 6 steps to ensure your business is prepared:
1. Be aware of the risks
The first step towards an effective disaster recovery plan is to acknowledge the risks that could lead to an outage. And accept that they could happen in your data centre. Whatever precautions you have in place – risk of flood, fire, power failure or data corruption – is impossible to mitigate completely. Whilst it is important to do everything in your power to avoid such events occurring, it is also vital to have a plan in place in case they do.
2. Identify your most important applications
It is helpful to consider which of your applications are most mission-critical and what inter-dependencies occur between them. It is no use getting one application up and running if it requires another one to be live before it can function. All applications should therefore be assigned a level of priority for recovery in the event of disaster. And this should be agreed upon by all stakeholders in question.
3. Set RPO and RTO requirements
Recovery Point and Recovery Time objectives need to be agreed upon by both your technical team and your key business decision makers to ensure everyone’s needs are met while expectations are kept realistic.
4. Form a strategy
Based on the objectives discussed, a strategy should be put in place to include remote site replication. For many companies, the cost of provisioning a secondary data centre is prohibitive. However, there are other options like colocation hosting or cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service which can be considered as cost-effective alternatives.
Your disaster recovery plan should be fully documented and distributed. So that everyone understands their role and responsibilities in the event of disaster. It may also be necessary to carry out more formal training for those involved to ensure everyone is confident in their role should a critical situation occur.
6. Test your disaster recovery plan
Any disaster recovery plan should be fully tested to ensure recoveries are fast, secure and meet the required RPOs and RTOs. Any potential failure points can then be proactively addressed and resolved to ensure smooth disaster recovery if and when required.