Downtime due to equipment or software failure, human error, viruses or natural disasters can all cause an even bigger data disaster if the IT staff has not properly prepared. In fact, just preparing for disaster isn’t enough of a strategy for most organizations. Technologists at Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, say that organizations must also develop a strategy for recovery. Failure to do so can extend the length of the original downtime well past the disaster that caused it.
“Business continuity is like lighting a building in the evening. You want to first make sure that the lights will work before it actually gets dark,” says Ed Oakes, a business continuity and disaster recovery expert at Logicalis. “Standing around in the dark with a flashlight is not the time to figure out where your wiring went wrong.”
To improve your ability to recover data and get your organization back on track and operational following a disaster, Logicalis experts say to avoid these common mistakes.
Click through for the five deadly sins of disaster recovery planning, as identified by Logicalis.
Some organizations lack a formal data disaster recovery plan (DRP), or they have failed to address every potential type of issue that could cause downtime. This can lead to many hours of confusion and finger-pointing during a recovery period.
Close on the heels of “No Plan” is a plan that exists only as an idea or has not been documented or has been misplaced. “Developing a written plan that is printed out and kept in multiple binders available at a moment’s notice is essential to achieving a satisfactory recovery,” says Oakes.
Even when organizations have a written data DR plan, they may not have trained the entire IT staff in what to do should a disaster occur. “You want to make sure you identify the minimum number of people that would be required to implement any disaster recovery plan and make sure that everyone is trained in how to execute the plan,” says Oakes.
Disasters don’t always occur when your IT staff is on site or in the building. Failure to adequately communicate with the staff and ensure that the minimum necessary team can respond can prolong the recovery period. “Simple call trees, where IT staffers contact each other, can often cut hours from a recovery,” says Oakes.
It’s not enough to have a plan and train the team; you must commit to running periodic disaster recovery exercises as well. “This is often the toughest challenge,” says Oakes. “Disaster recovery planning and testing doesn’t generate revenue, so it’s not viewed as an asset, but should be viewed as an insurance plan. Testing can help you discover ‘What did we miss?’ and ‘What will it cost?’ if it’s not covered.”