Disaster Recovery Plan – How to Get it Right for your Organization

Disaster Recovery Plan – How to Get it Right for your OrganizationFrom lost or accidentally deleted files to ransomware, natural disasters and even internal threat factors, there are many things that can happen to your applications –which can in turn cripple your day-to-day operations. You know you need a formal disaster recovery plan – but  the one that sits in the three-ring binder from years ago won’t cut it in today’s dynamic, complex IT environment.  It’s difficult enough to ensure your assets are protected when all the data is located on-premises.

Yet many companies have data on-premises as well as with multiple cloud providers, so a hybrid strategy that may make good business sense can also  create challenges for those charged with keeping the organization’s critical technology secure. As organizations continue to accelerate their digital transformation with both cloud migrations and data center consolidations in full swing, this presents the perfect opportunity to start building a DR plan.

Every business and environment is different, including the markets they serve, the industry-specific applications required to conduct business, and the regulations they need to follow. Because of that, there is no silver bullet to a DR strategy. A solid DR plan should be tailored to the business model and requirements of the organization.

Audit your Full Environment

Disaster recovery needs to start with the business goal in mind. It should center on understanding the strategy for each application, including where it is kept, who has access to it, what dependencies exist around it, and how it needs to be protected. This is achieved through an thorough audit process to understand the unique services, data types and industry applications used by the organization, and the priority of each relating to downtime and the mission critical status for uninterrupted operation of the business. Especially for a successful multi-cloud DR plan, it’s important to be able to tag and automatically associate this information with each application so it follows them wherever the application is moved, now or in the future.

Organizations need granular recovery to the point that a single file can be recovered quickly and in isolation without the need to recover an entire system or virtual machine. Many DR products promote 1-click recovery to move assets for failover, but they do not help IT decide which assets to move and what needs to move with them.

DR tools often claim to “orchestrate resilience” but they are really referring to automating the migration of assets. IT needs accurate and actionable insights into individual application and workload dependencies as well as criticality and business requirements.

Plan to Fail or Fail to Plan

When you plan for change, the same steps and information that you capture leave you in a state of readiness for unplanned change. So, take advantage of a data center or cloud migration to start building your DR plan. It’s a mark of success to complete high availability testing of foundational infrastructure and disaster recovery capabilities. You can be sure that every application is part of the recovery plan and each of the recovery plans is tested. With this preparedness, you can confidently migrate or failover the complete data center.

Disaster recovery or business continuity exercises can be disruptive, but effective DR plans need to be tested, reviewed and updated. Almost the worst thing a business can do is invest in a DR plan, then leave it on a shelf.

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