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Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead, You Can

National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September. The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals and communities that engage in preparedness actions. This message is especially important as the nation prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Jose. Visit the National Hurricane Center website to track these storms.

This year’s NPM theme, “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead, You Can,” is a call to action for individuals, businesses and communities to develop and practice their Emergency Response Plans. For IT teams, this means making sure your company has the proper Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) processes in place to ensure quick recovery of your mission-critical data and systems. These three tips can help prepare businesses for future disasters.

Be prepared for all types of disasters.

Many people think of Disaster Recovery (DR) planning as preparing for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters. However, according to a report from Ponemon Institute, UPS system failure, cybercrime, human error and environmental systems failures are actually more common causes of unplanned outages. Businesses should factor hardware and software failures, human error as well as natural disasters in their DR plans. Measure the risks associated with each type of disaster and create a formal document detailing recovery plans for before, during and after an event. The plan should include information regarding all applications, hardware, facilities and personnel needed during the recovery process.

Test your DR strategy.

Unfortunately, many businesses fail to test DR plans due to a high degree of difficulty and expense. It is imperative that businesses regularly test their DR environments to ensure they function properly. Cloud-based DR solutions are often intuitive and offer easy testing capabilities. Immedion’s Recovery Cloud (DRaaS) includes bi-annual testing so customers can rest assured their data and systems will failover and failback in the event of a disaster. With our Recovery Cloud, DR testing is a simple three-step process and does not impact replication or production so failover and failback tests can be conducted during business hours. Upon test completion, users are provided a Recovery Report with detailed test results that can be used for compliance audits.

Make sure recovery time is up to speed.

DR plans should establish recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO) for all data and applications. RPO refers to the point in time when you can go back and retrieve clean files. Longer RPOs result in more potential data loss. RTO refers to the amount of time it takes get the data back online. Typically, DR solutions with short RPOs and RTOs are more expensive. To gain efficiencies, businesses should implement a tiered approach with regards to recovery objectives. Mission-critical systems should be on a recovery tier with the shortest and fastest RPO/RTO while non-critical systems can be on a slower, more cost-effective tier.

Whether a natural disaster or an ordinary incident, unforeseen events can result in downtime for businesses. Take advantage of National Preparedness Month and be sure to put a DR/BC plan in place—it truly can make all the difference.

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