5 Ways to Create an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster Recovery Plan

Unplanned outages in your data center, whether due to equipment failure, human error, or natural disaster are costly and disruptive to users. Worse, if prolonged they can be lethal to your business.

According to one study, the average cost of downtime is $336,000 per hour. And multiple studies have shown that over 90% of organizations that are down for more than 10 days are out of business within a year!

Needless to say, given these statistics, having an effective Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is a must. And increasingly, backup solutions alone are not enough. A true DR plan should include replicating data to an offsite location that users can access quickly when the primary data center is down.

Here are 5 key steps to create a DR plan that works:

1. Create a disaster recovery team.

Select members from each business unit to create, implement and manage your disaster recovery plan. This plan should document the objectives and processes agreed upon by all members as well as the specific responsibilities of each member in the event of an outage. You should also include a plan for communicating with all stakeholders – both ahead of time and during an outage.

2. Perform a thorough risk assessment and evaluation.

Assess any potential hazards that could put your business at risk and chart the actions needed to resume normal business hours. While natural disasters may first come to mind, don’t discount things like ransomware attacks or “black swan” events. You want to be prepared for as many scenarios and scales of hazard as possible.

3. Define an RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective).

that will be acceptable to your business. The RPO outlines the frequency data replication and will determine how current your data will be upon a switchover to the DR site. The RTO defines the maximum amount of downtime allowable after an outage. The tradeoffs between each of these and cost should be discussed with the DR team. This should be based on a quantitative estimate of $/minute(or hour) of downtime.

4. Select and implement a technology solution that can reliably and cost-effectively deliver the goals in your plan.

Data replication is perhaps the most important aspect of a solid DR strategy. These solutions historically have been expensive, complex, and vendor-dependent. Fortunately, several innovative companies have emerged in recent years with storage-independent solutions that allow you to replicate to different storage vendors or to the cloud. Fast, flexible, storage vendor-independent data replication provides the basis for a reliable yet cost-effective DR strategy.

5. Develop and run a test plan.

Once everything is in place, the DR team should test the plan on a regular schedule. The frequency of testing can vary, but a common methodology is to start with monthly tests and move to quarterly after 3 successful tests. If a quarterly test fails, go back to monthly and repeat. Bear in mind that testing will always reveal gaps and failures, but not all failures are equal. Failure to recover your ERP application may constitute a failing grade on the entire exercise, while the failure to meet your RTO by an hour may not. Define as granularly as possible what constitutes overall success.

Following these steps can help ensure your business is ready to face worst-case scenarios in the face of a disaster. You may also want to consider working with a partner that specializes in business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

Work with a Disaster Recovery Expert Today

If you have any questions about Parsec Labs or the specific data replication solutions you need, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We have a dedicated team of experienced engineers ready to discuss your needs and help you develop the right plan.

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