Mistakes to avoid when establishing and testing your disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery (DR) plan is crucial for any business who values their data as an asset. As cyber crime continues to rise, more and more businesses are at risk of falling victim to these attacks.

However, a lack of information and education in the workplace has resulted in businesses operating without a DR plan or operating with one that has never been tested. Establishing and testing a recovery plan is time consuming and costs money, especially the expense that goes into the continuous testing, but the pros out-way the cons when you factor in what damages the downtime and loss of assets can do to a business.

Here are four tips, by Jon William Toigo, an IT veteran, CEO and managing principal of Toigo Partners International, and chairman of the Data Management Institute, on what you should consider when setting up a DR plan:

1) Do not believe the hype around the high-availability (HA) technology that claims to render a DR strategy unnecessary. A DR plan is important for the continuity of the business. These HA options can be expensive compared to other solutions and are not suitable for data that does not need to be ‘always available’.

2) Don’t look for a ‘one size fits all’ option. Most data can be more successfully and efficiently backed up on tape. Solutions such as continuous data replication and disk to disk mirroring is an unnecessarily expensive method on which to base a DR plan. There are also many risks involved in disk storage, which make it insufficient to store a businesses valuable data, for example, disk storage is prone to latency and jitter.

3) Not all data is equal in that it has to be stored in the same way. Toigo explains that normally 30% of a business’s data should be backed up frequently as it is constantly changing, but the other 70% is non-changing and should be moved from the production platform to an archive as it is still important data.

4) Protect the data that is held by other branch offices and devices. The data held at head office is crucial to the business but so is the data held by others, especially since the bring-your-own-device era began. Close this gap by backing up all devices, which can be done by a suitable Cloud service.

When it comes to testing a current DR strategy, Quorum released a report, titled ‘Always Be Testing: Making the Case for ABT, that suggests businesses should make sure their MSP tests their system weekly as their system infrastructure is always changing and the DR plan needs to stay up to date. A DR plan can be rendered useless if it is not updated.

As part of keeping everything up to date, employees should be too. A business’s employees need to know what to do during a crisis situation and regular DR drills could be implemented as part of the office safety drills.

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