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Disaster Recovery Plan – It’s high time you have it!

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Disaster Recovery has become an essential part of modern business. It is often said, ‘Effective flow of information is the life blood for any organization’, and if the data is lost, it has real time consequences on the profitability of the organization. Disaster recovery cushions the blow of a data loss; imagine you have a database of all your customer details, securely stored on a local server that feeds your sales team with mission critical information to take informed decisions, day in and day out, and that server gets fried. What happens to the data? It’s lost forever and you have to deal with lost client records & leads, idle workforce, and other associated losses during this unfortunate downtime. This could be prevented with Disaster Recovery Solutions that quickly take over as backup and avoid lengthy downtime.

Disaster recovery (directly or indirectly) could be the ultimate savior for any firm, where it helps restore data and recover losses financially; losses that have occurred during situations like, hard drive meltdowns, building fires, floods, power failures, internet failures, data line failures, earthquakes and epidemic illnesses, which would cause a sudden and significant decrease in available staff, transport shutdowns due to weather, strike or more serious events, such as, terrorist attacks and acts of war.

Disaster Recovery (DR) has been around since the need was recognized, as computer centers began to store mission critical data centrally. If these computers were down, significant damage would be done to the organization, as most systems were batch-oriented mainframes. Thus, companies started implementing disaster recovery solutions to prepare themselves for potentially disruptive events.

Importance and Necessity of DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan)

A disaster recovery system involves a failover or switch-over system. Having these measures in place, allows organization to take regular backups of critical systems and data on local or remote locations, and to switch to them instantaneously in case of a disruptive event. However, this strategy has historically proved to be expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, more affordable and effective Cloud-based DR systems were introduced.

Around the late 1990s, a rapid growth of internet was seen; organizations of all sizes became further dependent on the continuous availability on their IT systems; and ranging from high-availability solutions to hot-site facilities, tsunami, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions are spawned the use of disaster recovery-related products and services. This also led to increased awareness on dependence of IT systems and how to ensure up-time.

A business plan that describes how work can be resumed quickly and effectively after a disaster, is what is known as a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). Control measures of disaster recovery can be classified into three types: Preventive measures, Detective measures and Corrective measures. Detective measures detect or discover unwanted events whereas preventive measures control an event from occurring. Correcting or restoring the system after a disaster or an event are called corrective measures.

A DR plan requires a lot of effort and time in terms of implementation, in order to realize its potential and complete benefits. Preparing for Disaster Recovery (DR) requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses hardware and software, networking equipment, power, connectivity and testing, while making sure it achieves the anticipated RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) targets.

Some strategies for data protection include backups made to be shipped off-site at regular intervals, on-site backups made to storage systems locally and sometimes automatically copied to off-site storage. Replication of data to an off-site location, which overcomes the need to restore the data (only the systems then need to be restored or synchronized), often making use of Storage Area Network (SAN) technology, proves to be a great advantage.

Another sound strategy, for taking effective backups, is ‘Cloud enabled DR solutions’, which replicate the management data (VMS, Templates and disks) into the storage domains which are part of the cloud setup. In Hybrid Cloud DR solutions on-site and off-site data centers both are utilized which provides instant switch-over to Cloud systems in case the local servers fail. The data and the critical systems are replicated off-site, enabling continuous access even after a disaster.

Disaster Recovery Plans can be simple to complex; they are essentially a full-scale assessment of current systems, failover systems, recovery sites and backup systems and how well positioned the company ‘is’, or ‘wants to be’ in order to function smoothly in case of a disruptive event. It is essential to realize the importance of these crucial systems and prepare for contingencies of the modern business environment. After all, ‘It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark…

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