What You Need To Know About Disaster Recovery

It’s the four words we all dread: “we are being audited”.

Queue the sweaty palms, dry throat and a damp brow. You rack your brain trying to remember the last time you performed a DR test and pray (a) it was successful; (b) you documented it, and (c) you have remediated all the findings that came up last time.

Sound familiar?

Whilst it may not be cause to relax, rest assured you are in the majority.

Unfortunately, it is all too commonplace for Disaster Recovery testing to be an afterthought. Usually, our businesses only deem DR testing important to appease audit requirements. Far too often, they fail to realise the business impact of an extended outage from a true DR event … well until one actually occurs, at which point conversation quickly turns into the blame game with questions being raised on “how did this happen?” and “why didn’t you know about this?” or worse yet, “don’t talk to me about budgets … it’s your job to be on top of this stuff!”.

The truth is, DR planning and testing is not usually a simple task. You need to:

  1. Know which are your critical systems
  2. Validate the RTOs and RPOs are accurate
  3. Understand the application dependency mapping (i.e. which systems critical systems are dependent upon and what the interdependencies are between systems) to ensure you fail systems over in the right order
  4. Ensure underlying systems are recoverable (or in a high availability configuration) in a timeframe to meet RTOs and RPOs
  5. Have a clear crisis management process to ensure the right decisions are being made in a high-pressure situation
  6. Have simple and straightforward recovery procedures
  7. Have backup capabilities in the DR environment
  8. Have simple and straightforward and TESTED failback procedures

More often than not, IT departments don’t have the time and energy to invest in getting this right, and even when they do, it can be difficult to be subjective on systems you’re SO familiar with, or perhaps become too complacent in trying to justify remediation of a major flaw as they have tried one too many times to obtain funding without success.

Either way, the net result is the business ends up paying the price with failed tests, failed audits, or worse, having environments failed over to DR but then are unable to return them to Production.

A fresh set of DR expert eyes can be the solution, Starboard IT have worked with many businesses to cut through the weeds and ensure a DR environment, policies, processes and procedures are up to scratch so you are ready in case disaster strikes. So whether you’re looking for an external check-up or an end to end solution, get in touch today.

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.