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Disaster Recovery Planning

Hopefully, you'll never need to use your disaster recovery plan. But to properly protect your data storage, your business absolutely needs a well considered DR plan. 

By Pedro Hernandez  |  March 05, 2018

A disaster recovery plan is an insurance policy, of sorts. Your business needs a DR plan because a well-implemented disaster recovery plan will make your IT infrastructure whole when disaster strikes.

More than an offsite data center and a collection of tools for data recovery and getting your systems back up and running, disaster recovery—often shortened to DR—also encompasses the policies and procedures that your organization's IT workers should follow to successfully get your business back on track.

As any seasoned IT pro will tell you, disasters can take many forms. And they don't necessarily have to rise to the level of a data center-rattling earthquake or the storm of the century.

Jump to:
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Types of Disaster Recovery Plans
Developing Disaster Recovery Strategies and Steps
Routine Updates and People

 

Sure, nature is responsible for its share of hurricanes, blizzards, floods, wildfires and countless other ways to interrupt a company's IT operations. But in terms disaster recovery, people and all their foibles can fall into the same category.

Human error, improper configurations and cyber-attacks can all cause servers and other IT equipment to fail. Sometimes a disaster can be traced back to a faulty server rack, a buggy application and other mishaps.

When it comes time to craft a disaster recovery plan, IT personnel must document its scope and objectives. While they may vary depending on the severity of a disaster and between organizations, even those operating in the same industry, the documentation should be clear on what it covers—from a modest fleet of desktop systems to massive data storage archives—and how the steps described therein help meet an organization's data recovery objectives and other goals.

disaster recovery planning

Effective disaster planning for includes tying together many elements of the storage ecosystem.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Although disaster recovery and business continuity are sometimes used interchangeably—and they are indeed related—they serve very different purposes.

Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity. Whereas disaster recovery is generally focused on a company's IT operations, business continuity involves the entire business or at least those functions that are critical to its ongoing operations.

A business continuity plan includes policies, procedures and contingencies that can be used to continue conducting business in the event of a disaster or other disruption. It takes more than a company's data and IT systems into account, reaching other areas that are typically outside an IT department purview, like office space, suppliers, employees and industrial equipment.

Considering the integral role of IT in today's modern enterprises, disaster recovery can be considered a vital component of a business continuity plan.

Types of Disaster Recovery Plans

Your disaster recovery plan will be heavily influenced by the IT systems and services that your business relies on. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are some factors to consider.

Developing disaster recovery strategies and steps

Now it's time to get started creating a DR recovery strategy.

Routine updates and people

Finally, your disaster recovery plan should be a "living document," of sorts.

Routinely update it to account for changes to your infrastructure, technology updates, mergers and acquisitions and the many other factors that affect your IT environment. Be sure to update your testing procedures after significant changes.

And don't forget your most valuable resource: people.

Identify employees that will be put in charge when a crisis erupts and match skillsets to the affected systems and technologies. Remember to keep your employee information current—the best laid plans will fall apart if your workers are left scrambling to find someone who can help.

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