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Why is Disaster Recovery important to business.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan and what are the impacts of not having one in place.

What is a IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

An IT Disaster Recovery Plan is a document and systems that outline what to do in the event of a Disaster. It should cover all potential Disasters whether they be natural or man-made and then outline who needs to be notified, what actions need to be taken and how you can ensure that you can continue to operate.

The actions that come out of this plan may not be needed for very long, or depending on the issue could be needed for a longer period of time. But the plan ensures that you can continue to operate through the period of downtime until systems are restored.

What scenario could involve me having to invoke Disaster Recovery?

Any core system outage that is vital to your ability to operate. Whether that be for example, Email, Telephony, Unified Communications, File Storage etc or all of them together. These could be caused either by a natural disaster or one that is man-made. Flood, Fire, Power or Wifi Failure, or a Malicious attempt to compromise your systems.

How to plan for Disaster Recovery?

There are multiple steps and actions that should be taken to plan for Disaster Recovery and this is no quick task. It is going to take a serious amount of time, planning and testing. It may seem like this could be a waste of time, but the planning you do now could save you a lot more time and prevent reputation damage in the future.

Backup Core Systems:

Most businesses have a set of core systems in place. Ones that are used all day, every day and without them you wouldn't be able to operate. For example Emails, File Storage or Server, Finance, Quoting or Invoice Systems and End-User Devices. All of these locations and potentially others store your core data and allows you to operate. But is all of this data backed up and if so where to.

File Storage and Servers:

For data stored in the cloud, a disaster at your office is unlikely to affect this data, but it could affect hardware and data stored on site. Your file server or end-user devices could be damaged by a fire or flood, Wifi or Power could take devices offline and this means that users are unable to work even if they work remotely.

Systems hosted in the cloud that maybe have a built in backup location may be better protected than your on-premise equipment, but what happens if their data centre goes offline, or someone with malicious intent deletes the data either from your end or from your cloud provider?

So how do you handle the above questions:

The one rule we always follow is to backup to a separate location. Why? Because this reduces the risk of natural disasters affecting your ability to operate.

For On-premise solutions, you should be backing up to the cloud. There are a variety of different solutions on the market to help with this. This puts your data in two separate locations. Therefore if something happens to one location you always have a backup.

For Cloud Based solutions you have two options. You can use the built in backup that is available with some solutions (potentially hosted in two separate data centres) or you can backup to a different Cloud Based Solution or to a On-Premise Solution. It never hurts to have multiple backups as long as they are correctly managed and have accurate data.

Other Systems for example: Financial, Invoicing, Project Management

For other solutions and systems that you may not have as much control over, you need to check with the developer or vendor to confirm what backups they have in place for your data. They usually have a page on their website, but it is always best to confirm.

How do I use these Backups in the event of DR.

So you have your data backed up but you may not be able to access your data in its current location. You will need to find a solution that can allow your users to access the data. It is best to check with the developer or vendor what they would do in the event of a DR situation but for file storage solution you could connect to on-premise hardware in your other locations or create a cloud based file storage solution in Amazon Web Services for example.

What Happens if I don't have a Disaster Recovery Plan in Place and Why is it important to business?

For companies without Disaster Recovery in place, you run the risk of being unable to operate when something goes wrong. Your customers will still want you to be able to provide services to them, and if you can't be reached or are unable to sell to them, they will look to go elsewhere. A Disaster could have any amount of impact to your business it could be a complete outage that affects the whole company or it could affect a few users, but everyone in your business has a part to play in the companies success so you can't afford to have any users unable to operate. A Disaster Recovery plan and its Systems outlines the steps to take so you can continue to operate if something happens that affects your primary systems.

How Can I get a Disaster Recovery Plan in place?

Coded Point can help you identify what you need to do to plan for a Disaster. Identifying Systems that can be used as a backup, what existing infrastructure needs to change to reach this goal and help you put together a plan and documentation that can be called upon if needed.

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