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Back it up, back it up, let me begin

Only six percent of companies without a disaster recovery plan survive a disaster

Six percent! So, what should a disaster recovery planning session look like?

Firstly, it’s worth knowing a little about the three types of disasters your organisation faces:

  1. System Disasters: The one IT Managers should be trying to mitigate by putting a robust infrastructure plan together. When a component of your IT systems fails, what is the impact?
  2. Natural Disasters: Acts of God etc. What if your server room were flooded or struck by lightning?
  3. Human Error Disasters: You won’t be surprised that these are the most common. Mostly these are unintentional, but sometimes they are malicious.

Secondly, take each role or service that your infrastructure (voice and data) is providing to your staff and consider the impact of downtime and disruption.

For example; Email. Can you survive without it? How long can the business withstand disruption?

You might like to use these simple guidelines to help establish some objectives for each of these roles:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO): In the event of failure, how quickly does this particular service need to be recovered? i.e. what length of downtime can the business withstand?
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): When having to recover, how far back in time is appropriate? An hour? A day? A month?
  • Retention: How long must backups be kept? How should the archive retention be managed for each service?

It’s sometimes very difficult to pinpoint these specifically, but the exercise can result in a good set of guidelines which can help build a Disaster Recovery plan and associated business case for any required services.

Modern recovery systems should give a great deal of flexibility and reliability and you may decide to outsource the backup and disaster recovery processes to get the best from your partners. In my opinion, these services should be reviewed at least once a year to make sure your business is meeting the (no doubt) growing demand for uptime and getting best value. 

By Ollie Jackman, Taurus IT Consultant

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