Virtualization Technology News and Information
How Well Do You Understand Your Disaster Recovery Environment?


Bad things happen. That's why every business should have a disaster recovery environment or plan. It's essentially like fire and flood insurance for homeowners.

A comprehensive disaster recovery solution is an absolute requirement when you're dealing with customer data or information. In the event of a disaster, all of that data will be lost forever if you don't have a backup system, and that's costly for everyone involved.

It makes perfect sense.

But how well do you understand disaster recovery? How do you know if your environment is ideal for your business and customers? How do you know it's actually protecting your assets? Let's dig into some six questions your company needs to find answers to.

1. What Is a Disaster Recovery Environment?

Disaster recovery is a security planning concept that aims to protect your business and its assets - including digital ones - from a serious unplanned event. As you'd expect, those events can be anything negative from a cyber-attack to a natural disaster. Even a hardware failure can be considered a serious event, especially if data loss becomes a side effect.

To prevent the disruption of your business - and the loss of documents, policies, content or data - you need to come up with a disaster recovery plan. It details the procedures and steps you will take to protect your assets during a disaster and minimize damage.

This may include implementing a backup system to restore servers or mainframes after a major outage. It could even involve strengthening your local area network to meet higher demands and better secure stored information.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 40 percent of small businesses are forced to close after a disaster. Worse yet, 75 percent of small businesses don't even have a disaster recovery plan drawn up, according to Nationwide.

Whether you are planning to implement a disaster recovery environment soon or you already have one deployed, there are some questions you should be asking.

2. How Scalable Is Your DR Solution?

As your business grows, so will everything else. You'll need a bigger infrastructure, more hardware to facilitate the increase in customers, and increased solutions for just about every other aspect. This also means you will need to scale your disaster recovery solution to meet the new demands.

You should be able to do this easily, without the need for proprietary hardware or systems. Smooth deployment on a grand scale is also important.

If growing your disaster recovery environment is complicated or you are unable to acquire the provisions yourself on demand, then you should go back to the drawing board.

3. Is Your Solution Ready for Primetime?

You need to check and then double-check to make sure your disaster recovery solution can handle everything you throw at it.  In fact, 58 percent of organizations test their DR environment only once each year when they should be checking it more often.

One study revealed data loss and system downtime costs organizations in excess of $1.7 trillion each year. Those numbers are massive. Don't become another statistic. Be prepared.

The last thing you want is to realize during a major outage that you didn't have enough hardware to compensate for a loss. This includes having enough space to store all the data being backed up and having enough equipment to get things done efficiently.

For instance, if the restore process takes several weeks - as opposed to days - then you should probably rethink your setup. Customers and clients are not going to accept waiting that long every time something happens. Not to mention, you should have ensured your system could handle the procedures before deploying it.

Fifty-two percent of small businesses claim it would take at least three months, and maybe longer, to recover from a major disaster, according to Nationwide. That's way too long.

4. Are You Prepared for Every Contingency?

In the event of a power loss, is your disaster recovery system still able to get the resources it needs? Can you still use your equipment during a major outage, or will you be locked out completely? Do you have the proper software applications and virtual content deployed beforehand?

It is imperative you analyze every possible scenario and prepare for them accordingly before they happen. Are you ready for a major blizzard or hurricane? Can you reclaim your system if an unauthorized party gains access? If malware wrecks a file system, can you confidently restore the data?

Your customers and clients will lose trust immediately if your system bucks under pressure, because it reflects back on you and your business. You must be prepared for anything and everything.

Another point to consider is whether or not your SaaS system conducts backups of your data. Never assume just because you're using a system like this that your content will be available after a disaster. In other words, don't entrust the process to someone else, because you may run into trouble if you do.

5. Are You in Line With Compliance Standards?

Depending on what industry your business is involved in, another concern may be your compliance needs. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your systems and recovery plans follow the rules and standards set by PCI, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or Sarbanes-Oxley?
  • Are the techs working on your system qualified?
  • Is your data center infrastructure certified?
  • Can you meet the needs of these standards?

These are all valid questions, because if you cannot comply, you could be facing some unsavory legal issues in the future.

6. Do You Have the Assistance You Need?

It's not enough to have a disaster recovery environment in place. You need experts who know how to operate the backup and recovery systems when things go south.

Some disaster recovery solutions come with support for system deployment, but then it falls by the wayside. Will your support still be there when you need to recover or roll back your data? Do the professionals working with your hardware and equipment know how to perform these functions? Will your DR provider be there to hold your hand if you need it, or will they abandon you?

You may find - in the moment - that you need a trusted advisor to help you get your system up and running again. That's fine, but you don't want to find out last minute that you're on your own without this support. Make sure you have all the assistance you need in the event of a disaster, both internally and externally.


About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits Follow her on Twitter to read all of her latest posts!
Published Monday, December 05, 2016 8:05 AM by David Marshall
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