5 Steps to an Effective Disaster Recover Plan




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Nearly three out of four organizations are at risk of failing to recover from a disaster or outage. Two thirds say their disaster recover (DR) planning did not prove useful in their worst event. Most have not documented their DR plans, have not established key metrics such as Recovery Time Objectives, Recovery Point Objectives, failover, or failback processes. Those are the disconcerting results of a survey conducted by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council. 

You know how important your systems are to your operation so if you fall into one of those categories, it’s time to do something about it. Here is a five-step plan to get you started on developing an effective DR plan.

1. Inventory your applications and services
As a first step, you need to understand what applications and services you are going to protect under your DR plan. Begin with mission critical apps that control your financial and business processes and then move on to others that are necessary to keep your ongoing business operations up and running. After identifying these critical elements, assign priority levels to each.

2. Review platform needs
Once you’ve established your recovery priorities, you need to understand what platforms are necessary to deliver those apps and services. You must identify the software and hardware requirements needed to keep those critical systems operating. 

3. Decide on replication method
As part of the plan, you have to replicate the apps and services to a secondary site. For some applications, the replication may be at the storage level. In other instances like those involving Microsoft services, DNS, or active directory, you may be leveraging cloud tools and resources. 

4. Establish recovery order
For each server or element of a solution, you must determine the order in which you would bring those back online. The infrastructure services need to be brought up first before you bring up your business critical applications.

5. Document a test plan
Once you have your DR program in place, you need to document a test plan to ensure that the solution will be effective in failover mode in case of an event.

Cloud DR options
Very few companies can withstand a business interruption of any kind, but cost constraints prevent most from implementing a solid DR plan. However, the advent of the cloud is providing many organizations with a cost effective way to protect their businesses. 

For example, VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is a recovery-as-a-service (RaaS) solution that introduces native cloud-based disaster recovery capabilities in a virtual environment. Instead of spending extensively for redundant hardware that will likely sit idle most of the time, you can leverage vCloud Air for a self-service disaster recovery protection for virtual machines. This gives you RPO from 15 minutes to 24 hours, and enables quick failover, fallback, and planned migration. You will have elastic cloud compute and storage capacity, support for offline data seeding, and flexible failover testing.

Because of the affordability of an RaaS solution, organizations no longer have to choose between an expensive duplicate data center or going with little or no protection. For a reasonable investment, you can now guard yourselves against potential disaster and a devastating system shutdown.

Souce : The State of Global Disaster Recovery Preparedness, Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, 2014.

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