In today’s always on world continuous availability is no longer a luxury, it is absolutely essential to run a successful business. Data drives your business, and consumers need (want?) access around the clock. Because of this shift, gone are the days of contemplating whether or not you need an IT disaster recovery plan. The only question to consider is what type of plan is the right fit. Whether you are considering adjusting your current DR plan or do not yet have a plan in place (gasp!), answering the following questions should help set you a on the right track:
What is the cost of downtime to your company?
Have you performed a business impact analysis (BIA)? The BIA is an essential component of any disaster recovery plan. It identifies the consequences of potential interruptions to your organization’s business functions in the event of a disaster, and attempts to forecast both the monetary and non-monetary costs that are associated. Determining the revenue impact of each business function in the event of a disaster is no easy task, but taking the time to get as close to a conclusion as possible will pay off. This will help lead you into the next step in the planning process: assessing your risk tolerance.
What is your risk tolerance?
Once you are aware of any potential interruptions and how they can affect your business (both financially and non-financially) you need to decide what your recovery objectives are. What is your risk tolerance level?
- RPO (Recovery Point Objective): This is determined by looking at the time between data backups and the amount of data that could be lost in between backups. What is your company’s loss tolerance in relation to your data? How long can you afford to operate without the data before your business suffers? Your RPO determines how often you will need to replicate data from your production to your disaster recovery site.
- RTO (Recovery Time Objective): This refers to the time it takes to get your IT and business activities back up and running after a disaster. How long can you afford to be down? RTO has more to do with your application itself rather than data lost.
While performing a risk assessment understand that recovery measures and costs will be different for each type of catastrophic event and with each individual application. Costs should be allocated accordingly so that your most crucial functions are adequately protected.
Where should your DR site be located?
With hosting (even Cloud!) location matters. You want to strike the right balance. This is even truer with Disaster Recovery. Here are a few things to consider:
- The location of your DR site should be should be far enough away from your primary site so it is not to be effected by the same physical disaster.
- Your staff should be able to get to the site as soon as possible in order to work on resolving the issue if necessary.
- The location of your DR site should be close enough to realistically achieve your RTO and RPO objectives.
Do you have the resources available to properly test your Disaster Recovery Plan on a regular basis?
Many business owners think that once they have a disaster recovery plan in place they are golden. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ve taken the critical first step, but testing your plan is the only way to ensure that it works. And the only way to ensure it will work into the future is to have a continuous testing plan. Having a set testing schedule in place will help you remain protected into the future.
A few additional things to consider…
- Do you need to meet compliance? Certain compliances require you to meet specific standards when it comes to Disaster Recovery. Be sure to take these requirements into consideration early on in the process.
- Consider potential complications you won’t want to deal with at the time of a disaster, such as what hardware you will be restoring to. If you aren’t restoring to similar hardware you will most likely have to deal with additional licenses.
- Should we host our DR in the cloud or with traditional hosting? A few different factors will go in to making this decision. Because of the cost benefits and flexibility of the cloud it may seem like an obvious choice. However, there are still advantages of using “traditional” hosting for your Disaster Recovery setup. Be sure to weigh all pros and cons before jumping right in to a solution.
- What role can or should the public or private cloud have in your DR solution?
NetSource realizes that every business is different and no solution is one size fits all. We work with you directly to help you understand what your RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) requirements are. Then, we design a custom Disaster Recovery plan around those specific requirements as well as your budget, ensuring the safety of your important data and applications. Contact us today to discuss how NetSource can help you meet your recovery goals.