It’s not a matter of if you need a disaster recovery plan but a matter of when you will deploy one.
Natural or human-induced disasters that threaten your vital technology infrastructure and the systems that support your critical business functions can happen at any time. From power outages, hardware failures, to natural disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, you need to be prepared for the worst. With organizations becoming more dependent than ever on automation, even a minor disruption can have major consequences.
Adequate preparation for a disaster is the key to a quick recovery, and preparation starts with planning. If you don’t have a documented and tested disaster recovery plan in place, for each of your critical information technology systems, developing them should be at the top of your priority list. A well-documented disaster recovery plan will help speed the recovery of your information technology data, assets, or facilities and minimize disruptions to your business. Disaster recovery plans ensure your organization has the guidelines and procedures they need to respond effectively to a potentially disruptive event. A formal disaster recovery plan defining and documenting your strategies for incident prevention, detection, response, recovery and restoration provides a roadmap for restoring your operations and minimizing the long-term negative impact a disaster has on your organization.
Testing your disaster recovery plan
Disaster recovery plans should be thoroughly analyzed and tested. Testing your plans to cover all foreseeable scenarios, can reveal challenges and gaps that may hamper recovery efforts. Methodically testing your disaster recovery plans will give you confidence that your organization is capable of recovering and continuing operations after an interruption of services.
Disaster recovery planning is not a one-time event. Testing should be conducted periodically with documented scope, objectives, and actions. Periodic testing is likely to uncover issues with your planning processes and reveal changes in your environment that require updating or modifying your plan. Despite the importance of disaster recovery testing, conducting full-scale tests can be time-consuming and expensive, so many organizations employ different types of disaster recovery testing throughout the year, including:
- Review: Personnel read through recovery plans to ensure documentation is correct.
- Walkthrough Test: Incident Response Team walks through plans to identify issues and changes.
- Table Top Exercise: Incident Response Team goes through a simulated event that can be applied for recovery efforts. The group identifies any updates or changes that need to be made to plans and processes.
- Parallel Test: Recovery systems are built, configured, and tested to see if they can complete business functions to support critical processes.
- Cutover Test: Recovery systems are built and configured to complete production critical processes. All production work is completed in this environment. Primary systems are disconnected.
No business is immune to IT disasters; however, preparation is the key to recovering systems in the event of a disaster. Being prepared with well-crafted, well-tested disaster recovery plans will ensure a speedy recovery. Cerium Networks consulting services can help you create or update your disaster recovery plans, and facilitate testing of your disaster recovery preparedness. Cerium can provide insights into the challenges, strategies, and solutions for effective disaster recovery that ensures business continuity and keeps your organization moving forward when a disaster strikes.