Saturday, December 28, 2013

Understanding 5 Critical Misconceptions About Disaster Recovery Plans

Understanding 5 Critical Misconceptions About Disaster Recovery Plans
By Michelle Ziperstein

Would your company's IT department be prepared for a disaster? Do you have a disaster recovery plan that is up to date? These are key questions that any company should be able to answer in order to be prepared should a disaster arise. The Disaster Recovery Journal recently highlighted the 5 biggest misconceptions when it comes to disaster recovery. Here's what managers need to know to properly evaluate their company's disaster preparedness.

#1: Backup-as-a-Service and Recovery-as-a-service are not the same.

A good DR plan is about getting back up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. While backups are one component of a DR plan, they are not the complete answer. Backups and Backups-as-a-Service take recoverable data and put it back together in a usable way. Companies may have their files backed up but have no way to access or run their files because they need the applications to do so. This is where Recovery-as-a-Service comes in.

With Recovery-as-a-Service, the entire application and all the data associated with it are protected as one complete picture. Using a Cloud-based Recovery-as-a-Service can help ensure the safe recovery and protection of each virtual machine (VM), virtual application (vApp) and piece of data within the application.

#2: A one size disaster recovery plan will not fit all applications.

Certain DR solutions may not fit every application. Some non- business critical applications can get away with only backups. This is an area where many companies are able to scale back their budgets and use backups only. Others require a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) or a Recovery Time Objective (PTO) with a shorter period of time like minutes or seconds for business or mission-critical applications. Although these may cost more, there are ranges of affordability linked to an RPO or RTO that each application requires.

Each application is evaluated to get the best RPO and RTO. Price is based on the rankings comparing all applications. The best DR plans have varying levels of protection and include services like cloud-based DR to backups for each application. Companies, who try to protect all of their applications the same way, are either paying too much or not protecting critical applications enough.

#3: Most IT disasters are not caused by natural events.

Most disasters occur due to a technological, human or random error and are not natural. Natural disasters such as a hurricane are easier to plan for as companies can run their entire data center remotely from a better positioned geographic facility. With today's advanced storm notification, companies have the time to manually move applications to a backup site with 24-48 hours notice.

Companies who use a more protected datacenter are ready for events that happen with no warning. If a virus corrupts your data and you rely on continuous replication, then the virus will be instantaneously replicated to your second site as well. Companies who use a complete DR solution are able to pick a point from before the virus hit to recover safely from. Recovery plans should allow companies enough time to catch a mistake before it replicates to the second site or backups.

#4: Your DR plan should include how to return to your primary IT environment

DR is not just about getting critical systems up and running as quickly as possible. It's also about fully recovering from an event or outage after your environment is failed back. Companies forget that falling back is an important part of the recovery process and it's often the least tested because of risks involved in messing with live applications. Though failing to a recovery environment is hard, failing back can be harder because systems fail back to previously used, unclean resources which may require prep work to successfully move the applications back. Rate of change and bandwidth needed for failing back must be taken into account or you could get trapped in your recovery environment. It is essential that a DR plan includes the resources that you will need to get back up and running in your primary environment.

#5: DR Testing should be a continuous to consider yourself prepared

Successful DR plans involve constant testing to ensure complete coverage. Tests where errors are uncovered are just as essential as tests where no errors are identified. It's easier to fix errors in a testing situation than to perform the same tasks in a high pressure situation. Applications change frequently so DR plans must be flexible. Having a comprehensive plan in place can ensure your company the best possible chance of being prepared no matter what comes your way.

Michelle Ziperstein is the Marketing Communications Specialist at Cervalis LLC. Cervalis' Data Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions provide a high degree of availability for mission-critical data to ensure business continuity for companies, and a suite of data center services to organizations nationwide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michelle_Ziperstein

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