“When disaster strikes, it tears the curtain away from the festering problems that we have beneath them.”—Barack Obama
According to disaster recovery statistics, downtime can cost businesses anywhere from $10,000 (small businesses) to $5 million (large scale enterprises) every hour. 54% of company’s experienced prolonged downtime while 40%-60% of small businesses could never recover from a disaster and reopen. Almost 90% of business fail if they could recover quick enough.
Disaster recovery plans can help you save a lot of your money, which you could lose due to downtime. It also saves your business from reputation damage and helps you retain customers. Make sure you have the right people to execute your disaster recovery plan.
Despite all this, 20% of businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan. If you are a part of these 20% of businesses, then you are at the right place. In this article, you will learn about seven effective tips to create an effective disaster recovery plan.
1.Determine Critical People and Vendors
Disaster recovery is performed by IT teams and business continuity is the responsibility of the business unit. The problem is that there is a huge disconnect between the two. When a disaster strikes, everyone expects IT team members to be at the forefront and respond to the disaster while internal partners try to keep the business up and running. Your vendors play an important role in bringing your business back to normal as soon as possible. You should have contact information of all these folks because you never know when the disaster could strike.
2. Pinpoint Important Systems and Applications
Today’s large-scale enterprises are powered by dozens of systems and their employees use hundreds of different applications. Protecting all these systems and applications is not easy. That is why you should identify and prioritize systems and applications that are critical for your business and create a disaster recovery plan based on that. Let’s say you buy VPS server and migrate everything to that server. This makes it an important system to protect.
Some systems are more important than other systems. For instance, if your testing system goes down, it will not have the level of impact that your production system downtime could have on your business. Another way to prioritize systems and applications is to dig deeper and look at each component which makes up the whole system. How vulnerable these components are to failure? What impact component failure could have on your business? The more vulnerable components are to failure, the more likely that system is to failure.
3.Set Realistic Objectives
Two of the most important metrics that are used to evaluate the performance of your IT team and effectiveness of your disaster recovery mechanism is recovery time objective and recovery point objective. Recovery time objective is the time taken to fully recover your system while recovery point objective highlights the age of the data you can recover. Make sure you set realistic goals when it comes to recovery time and age of data when you recover it, otherwise, it would put extra pressure on your team, which could even lead to burnout and work related stress.
4.Design with Redundancy and Failover in Mind
One of the most important things you should consider when creating a disaster recovery plan is to look at systems that your applications connect to? Keep an eye on dependencies and how much your application relies on other systems and applications to work.
Once you have all that figure out, you can design a flexible architecture that can withstand an outage. Let us say you are operating your production system from two different data centers. If one goes down, you can shift the load to the other. More importantly, look for a single point of failure and look for ways to address the problem as quickly as possible.
5.Check the Vendor Approach to Disaster Recovery
Most businesses use hybrid cloud and outsource applications, which are hosted on vendor systems. Despite this, most businesses tend to ignore vendor approaches about disaster recovery. They do not realize that it can directly impact your business operations.
Make sure you discus disaster recovery plans with your vendor and ask what steps they are taking to ensure your business continuity. Ask them how quickly they can bring your data and application back in case of a disaster. You do not want to be suffering a downtime due to your relaxed disaster recovery approach.
6.Review Processes and Procedures
There are instances where you might temporarily be able to restore production but how long can you continue a makeshift arrangement? You can not run your production forever on a temporary setup. When creating a disaster recovery plan, revisit your processes and procedures.
Review your disaster recovery plan with others in your business line and they will give you are different perspective on your disaster recovery plan. Take feedback and document it because it will help you bring your systems back to life as quickly as possible.
7.Load Management and Business Continuity
If one of the components fails, how much impact would it have on your business continuity. If a single component can bring your business down to its knees, then you need to create a new disaster recovery plan from scratch. What if one server involved in the process flow goes down? Do you have other servers to replace it or not? How quickly and effectively can you transfer the load?
There are instances where there is so much redundancy in your system that you rarely notice that there is a problem because there is a backup server to handle the additional load. Ask how quickly they can restore business operations or critical systems. Additionally, you should also have an alternative channel which you can use to undertake business activities.
How do you create a disaster recovery plan and what things do you consider when doing so? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.