Disaster Recovery Needs Contingency Planning

By: Andy Butler

Disaster recovery will be an unsatisfactory exercise if it is organized after a disaster strikes. Only a lot of advance planning and preparation can ensure that the business resumes operations quickly after a major disaster.

What is Disaster Recovery?

The term "disaster recovery" is often used these days in an Information Technology context. When you speak of a disaster in a business context, it typically means loss of records, data, hardware and software to such an extent that normal business operations have become severely impaired or even impossible. Most business operations are so heavily dependent on Information Technology that without it, operations can grind to a halt.

Disaster recovery is the process of getting business operations up an running after they have been stopped because of a major information systems failure. The disaster can be the results of a natural disaster or a human action that had disastrous consequences.

How Do You Plan for Disaster Recovery?

Identifying key business data and arranging for regular backup, is a key element of disaster recovery planning. Storing backed up data at a separate location makes it possible to recover the data when a natural disaster destroys the equipment at the primary location.
However there could still be data on the damaged system(s) that was not backed up, and this needs to be quantified and a decision made whether or not to manually re-input the data or to attempt a recovery of as much pertinent data as possible from the affected system.

The separate location for backup can be a secure third party Web resource. The location can also be a remote backup facility with storage area networks spread over different sites to ensure the data is doubly protected.

You should regularly test that the backed up data is recoverable. Backup data can become irrecoverable for several reasons, including incorrect backup practices. The backup procedures should be subject to periodical audit.

Minimizing the chances of data loss is another major element of disaster recovery planning. This is done through such precautions as:


  • Ensuring the quality and continuity of power supply by using surge protectors and UPS/Backup generators

  • Organizing quick fire detection and easy to use extinguisher facilities

  • Using anti-virus and firewall software to prevent malicious intrusions by outside entities

  • Making personnel aware of the serious consequences of data loss and training them in the precautions to be observed



The final element in the disaster recovery plan deals with just that, DISASTER RECOVERY. This plan will list the actions to be taken if a disaster does strike. For example:

  • Inform staff about the problem and assigning them specific business and data recovery-related tasks

  • Inform customers about the likely impact of whatever happened and indicate when to expect resumption of operations

  • Organize to restore data from backups, wherever they happen to be



With the above kind of planning, you would be ready to recover quickly from even a major disaster.

Conclusion

In today's context, disaster recovery typically means recovering from an Information Technology related disaster, such as loss of data, records, hardware and software. Modern business is so heavily dependent on IT support that it can come to a stop if that support is lost.

Disaster recovery has to be planned much in advance. Off-site backups, data loss prevention measures and specific action plans if a disaster does strike are important elements of a disaster recovery plan but also a ready agreed contract with a hard drive rebuilder and data recovery specialist is advised.

Data Recovery
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