Most of us are optimists as we tend to our various activities, expecting that each day will pick up where the last day left off. When dealing with technology, we may decide to hedge our bets with a “plan B” strategy that often involves redundant infrastructure or data backups. But how well prepared are we for recovery if disaster strikes?
When we hear the word “disaster” we usually think of force majeure—things like tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes. With information systems, a disaster can be any catastrophic event that renders the technology inoperable. Often, organizations face additional day-to-day disasters that impact their on-site data centers. These include hardware or network failures, data corruption, fire, unrecoverable systems due to a failed change, introduction of malware, and even the theft or vandalism of equipment. That is why it is critical to develop a disaster recovery plan now to prepare for the unexpected, and the best time to identify a plan for disaster recovery is long before you actually need one.
Start planning by first identifying each of your applications. Assess each application to determine the impact its inoperability would have on your organization. How long could you reasonably continue operations without this application? How much data (if any) could you afford to lose? It may be that you’ll find that some applications are mission critical with zero tolerance for downtime or data loss while others may not be needed for a week or more and are less reliant on data integrity.
With a good understanding of your application recovery time and recovery point objectives, you’ll be able to determine the right strategy to protect the integrity of your application data and ensure the recoverability of the data and the applications themselves. Moving data centers to the cloud is a strong component of a good disaster recovery plan.
Based on your organization’s recovery requirements and budget, your disaster recovery plan may include one or more of the following:
- Scheduled data backups
- Data replication
- Use of off-site data storage
- Managed disaster recovery service or regional data centers
No matter which strategy you choose, thoughtful implementation and periodic testing will ensure your recovery plan works when you need it. Consider adding cloud solution to your data center strategy to plan ahead for disaster recovery.
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