A disaster recovery plan for business continuity

Business continuity is different from disaster recovery. Many times, both these are combined to a single plan, but disaster recovery can encompass technology failure, infrastructure failure or such.  Business continuity plans would be required, in its true sense when a natural calamity strikes. This allows for users to connect to your service and continue work in the most cost effective way.

Large organizations have used infrastructures such as Microsoft Remote Desktop, Citrix XenApp and other SaaS offerings to ensure business continuity. For smaller organizations, the cost of the associated infrastructure has been the primary deterrent in creating a business continuity plan. With infrastructure as a service offering from various service providers, it considerably lowers the barrier. This cloud based business continuity module will be the contingency system which can roll out in case of any disaster. And as this system will see seldom be in active use, the cost to maintain this plan would be considerably less as compared to traditional infrastructure systems.

One of the key success factors to ensure business continuity is to ensure the users know how to switch to the disaster recovery plan. Hence, like a fire drill, this plan also needs to be practiced in case a need arises for it to be put into action. The business continuity plan will ensure that the system functions even during the course of a disaster, giving sufficient time for the IT department to recover and reinstate the original systems.

Online Backup

Adding online backup as part of your business continuity plan has come after years of coping with numerous external disks. Keeping data at a secure, remote location is most important As Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) on the cloud matures, it will offer various models suited to organizations of varied sizes.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Effective disaster recovery needs a plan.

  1. A plan should be created stating the following objectives
    1. Recovery Time Objective: Maximum time for the IT systems to be running again
    2. Recovery Point Objective: Acceptable amount of data to lose. This is usually measured in terms of last how many hours of data can you afford to lose
    3. It should state what is the process to be followed and who is responsible
    4. As the size of the organization increases, it becomes more important to have a defined process, rather than a simple online backup plan
    5. The most important aspect is testing your recovery plan. It’s important to be able to able to recover the data stored, and also ensure that the data recovered can be used to continue business as usual

Testing Methodology

Different types of testing procedures can be performed to ensure a structured and effective disaster recovery plan.

  1. Structured walk through testing: This helps to confirm the effectiveness and helps to unearth gaps and bottlenecks which might arise when the plan is in action
  2. Checklist Testing: This ensures that the basic requirements are all stored in the backup and that it complies with the recovery plan
  3. Simulation Testing: Simulating a disaster and implementing the plan to check worthiness
  4. Parallel Testing: This test would check the recovery data against the real time data for any instant and compare to check whether they tally
  5. Full- interruption testing: This activates the full disaster recovery plan, disrupting normal operations. There are also various test scenarios which can be planned to identify the nature and extend of disaster.

Contact us for planning or analyzing your disaster recovery process, and to plan testing procedures.

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Aathira Nair

An engineer by education, foraying into a medley of activities - content, social media and marketing.
Aathira Nair

An engineer by education, foraying into a medley of activities - content, social media and marketing.

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