Document the Disaster Recovery Plan
Remember, to be effective you must be prepared to document the plan. Without the documentation you risk the possibility of NOT recovering from a disaster, therefore placing the entire company at risk.
If you have no existing documentation that describes the functions of the company’s servers and their hosted Applications, consider writing relevant Operating Document. In the event of a disaster, without knowing the role and the purpose of a server, as well as the Operating system – it could delay recovery.
A list of your critical systems
All companies will have a set of applications hosted on servers, which, are crucial to the business such as financials.
List your servers by priority and the criticality of the hosted Application – that is the amount of time the server and its applications can remain non-functional before it severely disrupts operations.
Create a disaster recovery plan for each critical system
This returns to the Operating document. To recover the system during a Disaster could take time, more so if the Owner is not available during the disaster to help login and failover the system then failback the system.
Therefore Keep documents simple, direct and to the point and written in such a way that anyone can understand the process, not just the SMEs who designed and built the system.
Who is responsible
Delegated participants must know and understand their responsibility should a disaster happen. Engage them in areas where they will know what to do and act accordingly. When compiling such lists make sure there are Team Leads, and Deputies should the first choice not be available during a disaster.
In this context be sure that if you use allocated drive space that your staff are backing up valuable information and documents to that allocated space.
Do you have an Off-site backup
Store all data in an Off-site Common.
Store Backups off-site in a location away from the same grid as the originals.
Test the Plan
On completion of the written plan, you enter the test phase. Make a plan to failover your infrastructure and then failback the infrastructure.
Take notes along the way to strengthen the areas in the plan which need more validation. Note where there is a need to access backup data time how quickly it takes to restore the system.
Keep the plan safe
Store a paper copy of the plan in a safe place. Remember: during a Failover, the online version could be unavailable.
When it comes to planning your Disaster Recovery strategy, do not forget the disaster recovery documentation. It may be the last project on your mind but could prove to be your company’s one lifesaver.
Disaster Recovery never stops and undergoes modifications every six months or twelve months.