Where does disaster planning begin, and where does it end?
Disasters are a matter of “when,” not “if.” This may sound like a scare tactic, but the truth is that having a data backup and DR plan is a necessity in an unpredictable world.
To develop a data backup and DR plan, use a phased approach and cover all the bases. Completing the plan will involve high-level prioritization, research, and vendor selection, so block off the proper amount of time to complete these five steps:
Step 1: Complete a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
First, outline threats and their potential impact on your business. Assessing the likelihood of the threats listed in the previous section is a solid first step. Calculate the cost by units of time to find the RTO and RPO. Consider the effects of lost productivity, missed sales, brand damage, and lost progress.
Step 2: Identify Critical Data and Assets
Backing up and recovering data and systems quickly can get expensive, so it is important to know what assets must come back up immediately, and what can wait. Do you really need your website back up in minutes? If you’re an e-commerce business you might. But if you’re a professional services firm, for instance, it may be more cost-effective to reserve the expensive virtual machine backup for the mission-critical systems.
Step 3: Decide on a Backup Location
Most DR plans backup data to multiple locations, such as the cloud, on servers, on premises, and remotely. The location will affect certain performance metrics, including failover and failback times, and how quickly backed up files can be recalled. The cloud tends to be the safest, most versatile solution, especially for virtual environments.
Step 4: Choose the Right Solutions
A complete DR plan will use a mix of hardware and software tools for maximum return on investment. Here are three products that EATEL Business consultants commonly incorporate into backup and DR plans.
- Rubrik – A data management platform that places critical backup and recovery functions in one fabric across the data center and public cloud. When paired with a backup, Rubrik shortens measure of time between an outage and the moment data is available again.
- Zerto – A hypervisor-based virtual replication software that simplifies DR and reduces cost. Can automate the entire recovery process regardless of underlying storage.
- Veeam – High-availability software platform for the hybrid cloud. Good for businesses that cannot afford much data loss.
- Finally, here’s a list of EATEL Business solutions using the products above.
Step 5: Test the Plan
DR tests are disruptive, but necessary. The test itself is usually simple: turn off systems, then turn them back on again. Things can easily go wrong, especially for the initial test, so choose a test time wisely, and have a Plan B if the systems fail to come back online.
The best time of year for a DR test tends to be at the beginning of a disaster season, such as Hurricane Season in the Gulf south.
Don’t white-knuckle it through disaster season or lose sleep during storms because you’re worried about your vulnerable data and systems. Dedicate some time to developing a solid data backup and disaster recovery plan; it’ll certainly be worth the time in effort in the long-run.
Disaster recovery doesn’t have to break the budget. With this guide, you can simplify your DR journey and actually save money.