Disaster Recovery (DR) Planning

DR planning can be a challenging task. It requires gathering and documenting information from multiple sources. But it is important and equally important to keep updated. Here are some reasons to update/create a DR Plan.

  • Hardware and systems fail
  • Humans make mistakes
  • User expectations — everything works all the time
  • The cost of downtime to the business

To create an effective plan, we should include all areas and departments in the business even though much of the plan centers on the IT department. Find out their needs for uptime and capacity for loss to help determine the constructs of the DR plan. After all, IT is delivering services that affect almost every department…executive, accounting/finance, sales, customer service, production, shipping/receiving, HR, and legal…virtually (pun intended) every department.

Identify key business applications that keep the company running. Applications such as:

  • Email
  • CRM
  • ERP
  • Accounting
  • Payroll
  • Sharing resources/services – network services

To help out with your DR planning, I wanted to provide some ideas and resources that can help.

  1. Process is critical.
    1. For data – 3-2-1 rule.   3 total copies, 2 places, 1 off-site.
    2. Create a Runbook for the process both backup and restore.
  2. We recommend at least an annual test to make sure you can recover and restore your systems and data.
  3. Talk to the Business Owners and stakeholders.
    1. What are their needs and expectations for uptime and recovery (in the event of an event)?
    2. What are their expectations related to recovery time and impact of data loss.
    3. Under-promise and over-deliver.
  4. Create an outline of tasks & important #’s (insurance, contacts, vendors, key customers, etc.)
  5. Here is a great link for a plan outline… http://searchdisasterrecovery.techtarget.com/essentialguide/Essential-guide-to-business-continuity-and-disaster-recovery-plans
  6. Create a backup schedule template
  7. IP spreadsheet template –
    1. location information
    2. equipment/device detail
    3. circuit information & details
    4. port status/information
  8. Sample DR Procedures Guide… http://www.techtarget.com/search/query?q=DR+Procedures+guide
  9. Vendor contact list

We have created a number of runbooks and facilitated a number of DR tests for clients. If you have any questions or need assistance, ask our engineering team…they are always willing to share their knowledge and experiences.

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