In many businesses, backup and disaster recovery is ignored, priority being given to various daily IT concerns, upgrades, and maintenance problems. In your case, disasters might not be commonplace, but be assured, they do happen and must be planned for. The biggest culprits are hardware failures and user error—two things that will happen to every business at some point.
In any event, there’s plenty to think about and a considerable amount you should do to plan for any disaster scenario:
1. Buy good equipment
This can be difficult because you might not have final purchasing authority for your IT equipment. Getting your hands on good quality kit may need you to go cap in hand to those responsible for the budget, but you can assure them they’ll save more money in the long run by not having to replace substandard equipment that’s liable to failure and loss of data.
Remember: some manufacturers do lease equipment, so at a very reasonable monthly cost, your business can use the best and most recent kit at a better price than buying it.
2. Regularly revise & update your Disaster Recovery plan
Not updating your backup and DR plan is the same as leaving home without your clothes — it feels great, but you’ll get into trouble before long. Review your DR plan carefully, ensure it contains all your existing equipment and that it’s up to date in case of some sort of emergency.
3. Test regularly
Should you not have an up-to-date DR plan, it’s guaranteed that you’re not running tests. In fact, even if your plan is up to date, there’s a good chance you’re not testing in any case. Its difficult finding the time and management definitely won’t want to come in over the weekend to walk through your disaster recovery plan, however it’s crucial to guarantee your business can recover from a hard-drive failure in a domain controller, or a flooded server room, or any other emergency. Management must understand that your DR plan must be tested – and regularly – otherwise for all intents and purposes, it’s completely useless.
4. Always Share what you Find
As well as with testing, ensure management, IT administrators and any appropriate staff are able to access your DR plan. Best practise advises that 1 or 2 staff should have the responsibility of ensuring the DR plan is regularly reviewed and that the current version is accessible to all relevant staff. The better your communication, the better equipped your business will be should the DR plan have to be carried out.
5. Trust the Cloud – But not for Everything
A sensible choice is to make use of the cloud for backups only and retain production equipment in-house. It is best practise to make backups to the cloud, as well as locally, not instead of locally. Make your local backups first, then duplicate them on the cloud, or a secure off-site data centre for that additional security.
Don’t take this as the be all and end all, it’s merely what we consider to be the most important of a lengthy list. When considering backups and disaster recovery, you must reflect on the bigger picture.
Therefore, only way to really know if your plan is good enough is to test, record and iron out the glitches – after all, planning and implementation are two very different animals. Best practise indicates that making quarterly tests of your disaster recovery plan is a big part of any fully solid business continuity plan.