Data Backup & Recovery Blog

10-Point Disaster Recovery Planning Checklist

Posted by Alisa Alvich on April 9, 2014

When It Rains - It Pours.

Every year, AccuWeather.com issues a U.S. forecast, highlighting predictions of temperature and precipitation trends. For businesses, severe rain and/or storms can result in power outages and flooding. Additionally, tornado season typically starts in March and can last well into July, depending on the region. 2014 severe spring weather resized 600

According to AccuWeather.com 2014 Forecast, the U.S. is likely to experience a spike in damaging thunderstorms including some capable of producing tornadoes, during May and June. The AccuWeather long-range team has concerns for flooding over parts of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys. 

With the potential for severe spring storms, the best strategy to protect your organization's operations from experiencing severe data loss, is to take proactive steps to prepare, and identify the risks associated with natural and man-made disasters. In fact, Disaster Recovery plans are essential to ensuring regulatory compliance, including the Dodd Frank Act (in the financial services space) which requires that organizations have detailed DR plans to ensure policy adherence.  

Without further ado, our 10-Point Disaster Recovery Planning Checklist

1. Have a Written Plan that Evolves with the Organization

Create a formal disaster recovery plan in case servers and local backup systems are damaged or destroyed. Put that plan in a secure location such as a lockbox service online and regularly update as infrastructure throughout the organization evolves.

2. Avoid Windows

Locate your data center (regardless of size) in a windowless room to minimize the possibility of rain damage.

3. Emergency Power

Consider the implementation of uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems on mission critical servers and systems that will allow for the smooth transition from primary (utility) power to emergency power systems during a power outage.

We recognize the need for a comprehensive disaster recovery solution, and that's the beauty of EVS Resilience. When you trust your business to us, you get the space, power, communication, and technology, essential to recovering from any disaster.

4. Elevate

Be mindful of where IT systems are located to avoid damage resulting from floods, bursting pipes and the fire department. Where possible, locate critical servers, storage and systems above street level and avoid basements and other areas where water can accumulate. In single-story facilities, rack critical systems as high as possible above the floor to provide an additional measure of protection.

5. Embrace Geographic Diversity

In the event of a large-scale natural event such as a hurricane, a regional disaster such as a tornado, flood or earthquake or even a localized disaster such as a fire, your data should be backed up in a geographically distant location to allow for remote recovery to an alternate. Consider data recovery solutions that provide redundant data protection in a location that provides significant separation of the recovery location from the primary data center.

6. Have a Local Backup

Having a local backup copy will be crucial if the primary business location
maintains power but loses Internet connectivity and needs to recover server data. 

With EVS Intelligent Backup, rapid restores are available from the onsite  EVS Backup Appliance for recovery at LAN network speeds. Additional full and backup generations are maintained in our fault-tolerant EVS Primary Data Center and then replicated out-of-region to our EVS Disaster Recovery Center. For large restores, EVS Corporation can deliver data directly to your recovery site on a portable storage unit.

7. Define Disaster Recovery Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Conduct Training Drills

Defining SLAs for recovery is essential as businesses may need instant recovery for some information - for those, explore instant recovery capabilities on virtual machine platforms to get back up and running as quickly as possible, while waiting longer periods of time for lower priority data recovery may not impact operations. However, having such recovery policies and SLAs needs to be an essential part of the DR plan to ensure data can be recovered using the most effective method. Confirm the ability to recover effectively by engaging IT staff to participate in regular disaster recovery drills and testing to ensure recovery effectiveness. This ensures that data in the backup repositories is indeed recoverable. Also, make sure people have the necessary training to perform recoveries and are well versed in these vital procedures.

8. Identify a Minimum of Three Business Site Failover Locations

This will allow remotely backed up data to be recovered via Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) to servers at the recovery site location and allow critical business functions to continue in the event the primary site is lost.

EVS Corporation provides you with flexible Disaster Recovery to ensure recoveries from any type of failure in minutes. Fusing backup and disaster recovery in an all-in-one package, EVS Echo™ is the world’s easiest cloud backup and disaster recovery solution for Windows application servers, with the added assurance of offsite replication for recovery from a total site disaster.

9. Employee Communication

Planning and testing are great preparatory tools; however, the events of an actual disaster will almost always bring the unexpected. It is recommended to have an offsite emergency website that all employees can access.  With this site, real time information can be communicated to employees.

10. Business Continuance

In a disaster, prioritization is key. Making sure the most important business functions operate effectively will be critical. A major component will be support from employees as they need to be capable of performing key business services. Make sure all employees in critical business areas understand exactly how they will connect to the recovered servers and perform their jobs.

"The best approach to a Backup and Disaster Recovery plan is to ensure that all your bases are covered: data, power, communication and people," said Gayle S. Rose, CEO, EVS. "It is the case with many organizations that DR planning can be difficult and operationally draining. However, this process can be greatly simplified by partnering with a service provider to ensure key processes are in place."

Let's schedule a time to talk and get your planning in place as soon as possible. Starting a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn't have to be; contact us for your free evaluation and quote.

Topics: managed services, data backup, disaster recovery, data loss, data lifecycle

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