What to Do When… Management Doesn’t Think Disaster Recovery Planning Is Necessary

There are few businesses, if any, that are immune from natural disasters, and none are immune from system failures. Yet there are still business executives that don't see the value in disaster recovery planning. Convincing management of the importance of disaster recovery planning can be a difficult sell, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Emphasize the Financial Benefits

Point out how a strong disaster recovery plan protects the bottom line by preventing downtime and helps win new business by demonstrating to customers that you will be available to meet their needs no matter what.

Use Industry Regulations to Your Advantage

In certain industries it is mandatory for specific disaster recovery measures to be in place. Educate yourself on the disaster preparedness regulations for your industry, and call attention to the legal ramifications of not adhering to these guidelines.

Create a Disaster Recovery Plan That Is Specific to Your Company

The type of plan you design will be influenced by your company’s culture and structure. Truly understanding how your company operates will help you shape a plan that is less likely to meet resistance.

Meet with Both IT and Business Executives

Business executives and IT professionals are often not on the same page. A good disaster recovery plan takes both IT requirements and company objectives into consideration.

Helping executives see the necessity of disaster recovery planning doesn’t have to be impossible. For more tips on what to say, click here.

Five Mobile Workspace Recovery Tips

Every business continuity planner has to consider the fact that a natural or everyday disaster might force company employees to relocate.

If you want to keep your recovery local, planning to have a third-party vendor deliver a mobile workspace to your desired location could be a viable option.

Here are some mobile recovery tips to consider before signing a contract with a disaster recovery vendor.

1. Plan for Total Destruction

After a disaster, you and your employees may be unable to access your office building and all the critical equipment inside.

Make sure you've planned to have not only a mobile workspace delivered to your desired location, but also the office technology your employees need to continue their daily operations.

2. Consider Your Employees

When choosing the location of your mobile workspace, consider the work-related and personal needs of your employees. Do they have access to restrooms, transportation, critical data, etc.? Do they need to take time off to attend to their own personal recoveries? How many and which employees can you spare?

3. Reroute the Phone Lines

A disaster will more likely catch your employees off guard. Plan to immediately reroute the phone lines to a backup call center or to employee cellphones to prevent a communication gap with your prospects and customers.

4. Secure Your Site

Once your mobile unit and backup equipment arrive, plan to have some type of site security in place to prevent theft of expensive equipment. Security measures could include fences, security cameras or guards.

5. Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan

We can't say this enough. Performing a real-life disaster scenario can help you fill gaps in your planning and identify additional recovery needs you might not have seen on paper.

By taking these precautions before your business experiences a disaster, you can lessen the impact of a disaster on both your business and your employees.

This St. Patrick’s Day, Don’t Rely on Luck for Disaster Recovery

As St. Paddy’s Day approaches, you may be hoping that you’ll strike gold with your disaster recovery plan. Maybe, by some stroke of luck, you’ll be able to back up and restore data faster, decrease your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and come in under budget for your disaster recovery solutions.

These things are certainly possible, but don’t rely on luck. When it comes to disaster recovery, a four-step process — not a four-leaf clover — is the key to creating a successful plan.

Identify Critical Information and Processes and Assess Risk

The first step of creating your disaster recovery plan is conducting a business impact analysis (BIA) to determine which business functions, IT systems, assets and employees are most critical to your business operations. When assessing the value of a particular process, it’s important to consider the impact downtime will have on your customers, vendors and individual company departments.

Next, you’ll conduct a risk assessment to determine which scenarios are most likely to pose a threat to your critical processes. These threats can range from natural disasters such as hurricanes to everyday business interruptions such as power outages.

Determine Your RTOs

Once you’ve identified your critical processes during the BIA, you’ll then determine the maximum length of time your business can survive without IT. Determining RTOs will involve interfacing with the departments, vendors and customers who would be affected by downtime to assess how long they can be without a particular application and balancing these assessments with the critical processes identified in the BIA.

Select Solutions That Work with Your Budget and RTOs

When identifying the best disaster recovery solutions, there are two key players: budget and RTO. The ideal plan strikes a balance between these two factors.

To meet (and hopefully reduce) RTOs, consider backup methods such as disk-based backup, backups during downtime, deduplication, writing to multiple files and disk drives and continuous data protection. It's preferable to go with a solution that accommodates the shortest RTO for a particular application, but if you encounter budget restrictions, consider using the mean time between all RTOs.

Test Your Plan Under Real-World Conditions

An important question for DR planners to consider is: How do you know your disaster recovery plan works? The truth is, you can’t know unless you test it. Evaluating your plan under real-world conditions allows you to identify kinks and make sure the DR team knows how to respond when glitches arise.

With a little research, planning and testing, you just might find the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to disaster recovery planning. Just remember that hard work — not luck — is the key to creating a successful disaster recovery plan.

How to Draft the Best Disaster Recovery Solutions

Next month, each of the 32 NFL teams will participate in the draft by selecting from a pool of eligible players to improve their game in the coming season.

At first glance disaster recovery and football don’t have much in common. However, just as NFL teams research players' yearly stats before presenting them with a contract, you should evaluate your disaster recovery solutions’ yearly performance to determine whether or not they're meeting your recovery needs.

Look at the Stats

NFL team owners and coaches make performance predictions based on a player’s college stats because they're good indicators of future performance.

In the same way, the flexibility and functionality of your recovery solutions during tests or previous disaster events reveal how efficiently you will be able to restore your business operations during future disaster events.

Standardize the Criteria

Each year the NFL holds a scouting combine where college players are invited to perform physical and mental tests in a standardized setting. This puts every player on the same field, so to speak, so that NFL teams can directly compare their agility, strength, etc.

If you find that any of your recovery solutions are not up to par, before selecting a replacement solution, ask yourself why the solution is not working. It could be that it is not meeting recovery time objectives, employee needs or budget requirements. Whatever the reason, once you determine why the solution isn’t working for your company, work with upper management to develop standardized criteria that must be met by future solutions.

Prioritize Your Players

In the draft, NFL teams take into consideration the potential benefit a player will add to their team before making a final decision.

When prioritizing your business’s recovery needs with your budget, base your decisions on the results of your research and testing, and select the recovery solutions that will benefit the critical processes in your disaster recovery plan the most.

Your disaster recovery plan can only be as strong as its weakest solution, so think critically, do your research and draft the best solutions to make your plan a winner.

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