Disaster recovery is an area of security planning that aims to protect an organization from the effects of significant negative events. DR allows an organization to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions following a disaster.
Disaster recovery in the cloud is relatively new, which is why you need to be careful before you select an online backup and disaster recovery service provider. Among the major concerns about IT disaster recovery are security and data recovery. As critical functions of a business relies heavily on the internet and various applications, it is important to have a robust disaster recovery plan to maintain business continuity and the availability of data on a network.
How does IT disaster recovery help?
Many companies have started to leverage cloud services for disaster recovery. This is a cost effective solution especially for companies that are strapped for IT resources. Having data backed up in the cloud reduces the need for additional data storage space and IT infrastructure, which leads to a significant reduction in costs. This makes it ideal for smaller companies to ensure the safety of their data, a privilege that was earlier found only in larger enterprises.
One of the major characteristics to look for in an online backup and IT disaster recovery solutions provider is the kind of technology they have available for clients. You will want to make sure that the systems you have on-site are adequately supported at the recovery site.
To begin with, you will want to work with a provider that offers robust solutions to protect Microsoft Windows Servers, VMware vSphere and ESX(i) Servers.An ideal provider will offer flexible disaster recovery options such as bare metal restore and fail over virtual machines.Reliability and availability are the most important benchmarks to measure the abilities of a service provider.
During a disaster, they need to have the ability to have your data up and running before any significant damage is done.Their security measures ought to be of the highest level. This includes data encryption and their compliance with regulatory requirements.Your provider also needs to have the right bandwidth and network resources that will allow users access during a disaster.
They should also have sufficient system resources available to allow users access to data and have their internal systems up and running again. This includes taking continuous snapshots of your data, which eliminates the need for backup windows and reduces your recovery point objective.Most importantly, look for a provider with backup servers that have the ability to go back to any point in time to recover data. This is most essential when it comes to IT disaster recovery.
Disaster Recovery And The Things You Should Know About an IT Disaster
Usually when we come across the word disaster, we think of natural calamities. However, since we are heavily dependent on computerized systems, a breakdown of the IT infrastructure is also known as a disaster. Only people who have faced a situation where they have lost all critical data will know how crippling this can be.
Now that most organisations use IT facilities for nearly all their operations, they are worried about how to deal with such a situation because they know that they cannot continue operations without uninterrupted access to data. Here are the factors that usually cause ‘disasters’, along with some effective disaster recovery techniques.
Natural disasters may cause IT disasters. Droughts, landslides, tornados, hurricanes, electrical storms, floods and freezing conditions may damage the buildings in which hardware is kept. Natural calamities also damage communication systems or cause fires and power cuts. Such events also adversely affect the critical hardware of companies. IT infrastructure may also be lost during wars, terrorist attacks and burglaries.
Since most people are now aware that an organisation can be brought to its knees if its IT system is sabotaged, disgruntled employees, agents of rival companies and hackers who wish to harm a company may intentionally corrupt or destroy the data. However, such damage may also be caused unintentionally due to mistakes of employees.
All organisations that rely on computers must have a disaster recovery plan so that they can continue to function even if they lose vital data or hardware. The best way to ensure that all critical documents are available in such a situation is to store them at an alternative site. An organisation may also store its data in a different country so that it remains protected from regional natural calamities. Some organisations give their data to service providers who store the data in multiple locations. This reduces the chances of data loss because chances of simultaneous system failure in all locations are lower.
It should also be remembered that aside from the data which is used on a daily basis, certain other documents are important for the survival of a business. For example, lists that contain details of emergency services, personnel, products, suppliers and distributors have to be kept up-to-date and secure. The standard procedures and policies of the company with regard to administration, recruitment, remuneration, health and safety matters, production and storage are another set of important documents. Though copies of agreements, contracts, floor plans, industry regulation and papers related to litigation are not required everyday, such documents must be stored safely because the company can not function in the long run without them.
A disaster recovery plan should take the operations of all departments of the organisation into account. Departments like maintenance, human resources, accounts, sales, public relations, marketing, online customer service, e-commerce, quality control and production depend on IT infrastructure. Since all these departments must work properly for an organisation to function effectively, none of them should be excluded from the disaster recovery plan.
Disaster Recovery It’s All About Getting Your Basics Right
Most companies commonly claim that they regularly keep track of their disaster recovery plan and are always in with a consistent effort of even upgrading their recovery systems and make them more comprehensive and compact. However, in reality, evidences suggest that most of the enterprises are fairly lagging behind in terms of developing and making proper use of the disaster recovery services. So, here are a few useful ways through which companies can look to get their disaster recovery programs improved and updated for their own convenience and better safety and security prospects.
Get All Your Exercise Objectives Defined Specifically Upfront: – Frankly speaking, having a disaster recovery system just for the sake of having one is of no use. As a user, it is your responsibility to make sure that your system is technologically upgraded with the required tools and accessories to serve you to its fullest capability.
As a part of this process, it is vital to define the exercise objectives clearly to be able to succeed in the mission of making a system fully functional. Next, talking of “exercise objectives”, we refer to the parameters or values based on which the merit of a system can be judged. It might be something associated to recovery time, recovery status, database recovery infrastructure or something else. Getting all these parameters defined and described at the top will be more than useful in getting a fair estimate of the compactness of the systems.
Make Sure To Include Your Business Stakeholders: – The business owners do play a key role in exercising disaster recovery plan but at the same the role of the stake holders is also vital to say the least. Make sure that you include all your business stakeholders as a part of the exercising process right from the beginning to the completion of successful recovery of the services. This will help you in two possible ways. On one hand, it will keep you in the safer side as the Stakeholders will also be fully aware of the status and quality of the disaster recovery plan and services. On the other hand, it will also help you in getting a fair estimate of the performance of the system.
Be Smart In Staff Management: – Try to educate a good part of your work force simultaneously instead of relying on any one or a small team of employees as the availability of employees during disasters is always risky and questionable. Therefore, try to impart proper training among a bulk of your work force. Assign them multiple roles during the DR exercises to make them versatile and also instigate a feeling of self confidence among them.
Develop Well Crafted Risk Scenarios: – Try to hold periodic mock risk scenarios to test the skills and abilities of your response team. Exposure to realistic situation is going to help significantly in familiarizing the employees to real time fall over which in turn will enable them to deal with competitive situations better if such a need arises at some stage later.
Significance of Backup and Disaster Recovery
The business world is getting difficult day by day due to the rapid increase of demands and competition. In this dog eat dog environment, the pressures have certainly increased, forcing business organizations to become leaner and meaner in their search for making profits from market share. In spite of meeting all the needs of competitive environment, there are some unforeseen challenges that can occur anytime without warning. The situations like a fire at your office premises, flooding or critical human error can cause massive damage to your IT infrastructure which can in turn affect your overall business workflow within minutes that can considered as a disaster.
Though, small IT departments or standalone systems can be replaced and recovered quickly, however, when it comes to business organizations, it is quite a different story. The centralized databases involved in the IT infrastructure of business organizations have made the backup and disaster recovery solutions plans essential for them. For protecting the critical and confidential data of the business organization, an offsite backup disaster recovery database is one of the keystones. By keeping the contingency plan of an offsite data backup system, the business organization make sure that even if the disaster strike, they can continue with their organizational work process and client services with a minimum and negligible system downtime.
In the field of e-commerce and online transaction systems, the importance of backup and disaster recovery solutions is simply undeniable, as this little precaution can mean the difference between a successful business or simply no business at all. Even the most secure and large business organizations have the threat that natural environment holds such as fires, floods and natural disasters, which made backup disaster recovery an essential consideration. Such disasters can be very dangerous for your organization, as they can wipe out all the stored data in a matter of seconds. It is therefore important that all the business owners should take a precaution of having their data backed up at another location to avoid the critical issues.
No matter how strong and unbeatable is your IT infrastructure; one has to consider the need of backup data planning as one of the important issues. In order run your work processes smoothly, all IT personnel of the organization should be conversant with the data backup process. Moreover, the IT staff should know how to use the particular software that is used by their business organization to perform the backup function. One of the important factors that need to be considered for the betterment of the organization is the need of training for backup disaster recovery. All the staff and IT personnel should be given proper user training about the data recovery process.