5 best practices for disaster recovery
Grid failures, rolling blackouts, hurricanes, national security incidents, and other disasters have altogether thematized the challenges of every active CIO in the last two decades. In many respects, these threats have only intensified in recent years.
Accordingly, business leaders across the country are re-analyzing their disaster recovery strategies. Here are a few tried and true methods to keep your company secure in the unlikely event that disaster strikes:
1. Identify and empower your key staff
Dedicating a department within your IT to manage and execute business continuity planning is the first step companies should take to prepare for a successful disaster recovery response.
Ensure that your IT department leader maintains access to all executive staff by running interference. Avoid setting up the department and its director with a complicated business continuity plan.
2. Have an executable plan
If disaster does strike, make sure that your disaster recovery plan does not count on the staff who wrote it. They may not be available during the crisis.
Instead, develop a plan that’s easily understood and followed without the internal leadership staff that had a hand in creating it. If your director of financial ERP applications developed the plan, ask your business intelligence manager to examine it for clarity and test the recovery.
3. Segregate your business continuity plan
Whenever you develop a business continuity plan, it’s important to maintain wider company involvement than just your IT department.
You should, therefore, separate your business continuity plan and your disaster recovery plan, establishing distinct disaster recovery governance and goals for each.
In the unfortunate event of a disaster, the primary objective is to find full technical recovery. As such, your disaster recovery plan is almost always co-created and managed by your in-house developers and engineers.
Business continuity’s goals are slightly different, however. The primary focus is maintaining organizational and process stability. This plan should be developed in collaboration with IT and by the appropriate business unit representatives.
4. Stress test your business partners
Let’s assume for a moment that you have a business unit manager that insists an application recovered quickly, and the application is a low source of revenue or is out of financial compliance. Press this individual into deciding how long the department can operate with the application.
You may ultimately find that you don’t need it at all. The challenge is not only getting the right people involved in the development and maintenance of your business continuity plan but also determining which services to recover.
5. Build disaster recovery into your application development
The best approach to assuring a successful recovery is to incorporate your plan into your application development process. This is achieved through an isolated test environment that allows engineers and developers ongoing access to continually test all your company’s systems and applications.
Your business continuity database should include a comprehensive report on application-testing status. This way, your system engineers know when the system was last tested and if additional attention is required to ensure optimal performance recovery.
6. Exercise disaster recovery drills
You’ve finally got your business continuity and disaster recovery plans on paper, and you’re feeling confident. However, this is not time to forget about it. In addition to running your routine tabletop tests, consider springing mock disasters on your crisis management team, a few times a year.
The team should be made up of staff at least two board members, one for your business continuity team and another for the disaster recovery team. Designate one board member to set up a replicate data center with your staff to get it up and running within a few hours.
7. Sample any potential technology investments
Whenever you’re assessing new technology for creating systems images, make every effort to test it in advance. The process of creating system images entails capturing snapshots of the operating disk and registry settings that streamline the recovery process. Exercising any available option to try it before you buy it gives you the chance to use the product for an off-site test with a different network and firewall at no cost.
8. Create an action-item checklist from your test results
When you run an in-house test, how effective you are in responding to the results is a critical piece to disaster recovery planning.
Alternately, you’re working with a third-party service, like PCH Technologies, specialists will partner with your designated teams to create a future action plan, specifically addressing the results of the test.
About PCH Technologies
Are thinking about revisiting your business continuity and disaster recovery plans? Have you been testing your facility and developed concerns about ransomware data recovery?
PCH Technologies specializes in helping companies recover data from ransom-encrypted systems. To learn more, call (856) 754-7500 today.