After years of experience delivering world-class disaster recovery (DR) services, we’ve whittled down what we’ve learned into 10 clear-cut rules for DR that every IT manager can live by. In fact, these 10 laws should go viral across your IT landscape to ensure a fully-recoverable production environment.
1. Don’t confuse backups with data recovery
Having a copy of your data safely stored offsite is the first step to data recovery. But, you need to ensure you have the procedures in place to actually access the data in case of an emergency. Make sure you create recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) that specify how quickly your organisation must recover from downtime.
2. All gigabytes are not created equal
Data comes in hierarchies, and mission-critical data needs to be recovered as quickly as possible, while other less-critical data could have a less aggressive RTO. With a tiered data protection solution, you can avoid overcharges for data that doesn’t require a high level of protection.
3. Plan to test everything (or expect to fail something)
Test your end-to-end recovery process to determine whether your plan works, assess staff readiness to manage a DR situation, and resolve any problems before they impact an actual recovery effort. Consider everything that might go wrong, come as close as possible to simulating a real-life incident, and have independent reviews and observers. Afterwards, assess what happened during the test to optimise recovery procedures.
4. The only constant is change, so don’t ignore it
A successful DR plan meticulously audits the change control process. Developing recovery procedures involves writing a detailed plan or run-book defining how to address the loss of the network (databases, servers, bridges/routers, and communications links). These procedures need to follow best practices and be kept up to date.