The technology that makes IT disaster recovery (DR) possible has never been more economical and effective than it is today. Yet, many IT departments still struggle with their DR strategies.
Now that always-on business is a critical demand of the modern world, it’s no longer acceptable to rely on a less-than-effective DR strategy. To encourage smarter recovery planning and maintenance, Bluelock has provided three tips for business leaders and IT professionals to consider as they focus on their current DR strategy.
Consider the full gamut of events that could take your IT systems offline. More than likely, it’s not a weather event that strikes, but instead a human error or a power outage. For this reason, you should provision critical data with the proper security that guards against these types of occurrences.
Cyber criminals have begun to view DR environments as low hanging fruit, since they receive less attention than production environments. Because DR environments contain exact copies of your most critical information, they should be treated with the same level of security as the primary location.
There are also instances where IT team members won’t be available to participate in recovery. As you test your DR plan, include scenarios that take key people out of the equation. Real-life disasters can be merciless, after all, so the more prepared you are the better.
Most IT teams typically devote most their time to “keeping the lights on” activities, such as upgrading laptops, delivering emails and DR maintenance. While these tasks are important, they tend to receive far less recognition than more energizing activities, such as transforming the workplace with mobility. This is because “keeping the lights on” tasks are so ingrained with business operations that they fly below the radar. Yet, what happens if these activities fail? As you can imagine, people are quick to recognize the absence of an internet connection and hurl complaints.
By offloading these responsibilities to a third-party expert, IT teams free up time to focus on other, more pressing initiatives that drive value to the business. As a result, the overall perception of the IT department changes for the better. We are seeing many businesses outsourcing their IT availability initiatives to third-party providers of Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) for this reason alone.
A recovery time objective (RTO) is an important component of service level agreements (SLAs), but can be challenging to map out for each application. Since this defines how IT departments are judged during crisis, it’s critical to communicate accurate expectations back to the business.
IT departments tend to look at availability solely through a technology perspective, which doesn’t account for steps involving people and process, that take considerable time in some instances. For example, every recovered application must undergo quality assurance to check if data and transactions are accounted for. Furthermore, security controls must be in place before applications are returned to end users.
To make these quality assurance stages more efficient, it’s important to understand the interdependencies of applications ahead of time to determine which manual steps must occur before noting a recovery process as complete. It’s impossible to handle thousands of applications at once. For this reason, be sure to define each application’s importance not only in large tiers, but smaller tiers as well. And don’t forget to note these important steps in your recovery playbook!
Since quality assurance is a critical step before letting your end users back online, it’s important to map it into your SLA expectations. Plan for the full spectrum of events that could render your business offline and approach recovery from a proactive perspective to ensure fast uptime during disaster. No more frantic scrambling when something goes awry.
If your IT team is strapped for time or under pressure to prove your DR strategy to constituents, offload it to a DRaaS vendor for focused attention. This will free up time for more valuable business projects that make you a crucial part of company decisions.
To learn more about how to improve your recovery process for more accurate SLAs, here’s are two videos that dive deeper into the importance of quality assurance aspects, which Bluelock defines as True RTO™ and Recovery Waves™.