Why a disaster recovery plan is so much more than a ‘nice to have’
13th July 2018
Businesses are increasingly dependent on the real-time processing made possible by their IT and technology, and our reliance on the online world makes the permanent availability of IT systems even more important. Whilst we like to think that we’ve got everything in hand and that our systems are robust and reliable, businesses need to be prepared just in case the IT and technology systems supporting critical business functions decide not to play ball. Cue ‘disaster recovery’ – a subset of business continuity focused on planning for the worst (how to continue with business as usual if your IT services fail).
However secure we might think we are with our business set-up, no business is immune to disruptive events. The key is to know what to do when problems occur so that costly downtime and the negative effect on customers is minimised.
In a nutshell, disaster recovery means the policies and procedures companies have in place to enable the recovery or continued use of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a disruptive event. This event could be natural (e.g. a fire or flood) or man-made (e.g. ransomware attacks, infrastructure failure, failed change implementation and upgrades, etc.). One recent high-profile example of IT upgrades causing unforeseen problems is TSB. The bank has been struggling with major meltdown after the recent migration of some of the bank’s services to a new platform caused half of its online banking customers to be locked out of their accounts, and gave many customers access to other people’s accounts, including account numbers and sort codes.
The planning and implementation of disaster recovery solutions is something we have a lot of experience of, and flooding seems to be a particular theme. Thankfully, the robust back-up procedures (a pre-prepared server for recovery purposes) we recommended to a client enabled us to get them back up and running just four hours after a major flood that damaged a whole rack of servers, including their exchange server. And we have had more than our own fair share of experience with flooding in our own Bristol offices, which has given us the opportunity to see how good we really are at dealing with a crisis (and, quite frankly, we impressed ourselves!).
Developing a disaster recovery plan
Whilst it’s tempting to think that it will never happen to us, and it’s not the most fun in the world developing a contingency plan for something we hope will never happen, we all know that clear thinking isn’t likely to reign when IT systems have failed, customers are calling in en masse to report problems, and the atmosphere is thick with stress and tension. Best practice (and plain logic, really) calls for the development of a disaster recovery plan before the worst has happened in order to:
Some key points to consider:
Taking swift and timely action is key, and the only way to ensure this during a crisis is to have a robust and well thought out disaster recovery plan to follow.
We have developed processes for drilling into the critical services in your business, finding the single points of failure and calculating the time to recovery in different scenarios, and we have a well-defined template for building a DR Plan that will ensure that you and your staff know what to do and when in the event of disaster falling. Let us help …