Disaster recovery

4 Fatal Mistakes to Avoid in Your Disaster Recovery Plan

September 1, 2016

“Uh oh.”

That’s not what you want to hear your IT manager say. You especially don’t want to hear that right after the most devastating event your business has ever faced, while you’re just trying to restore operations and get back to productivity. Yet that’s exactly (or pretty darn close) to what many business owners/executives/managers hear when IT starts trying to restore service via their “disaster recovery plan”.

What are the most common mistakes organizations make when developing their DR plans? More pointedly, what do you need to be sure to avoid?


1. Don’t Aim for a Full Restore
If your disaster recovery plan is based on your ability to fully, completely restore all data and settings and configurations, exactly as they are pre-poop-hitting-fan, you might as well toss the plan and take an early lunch now. It’s not possible. What you should aim for is a plan that gets you back to operational quickly and restores your ability to be productive with as little jumping through fiery hoops as possible. Losing a little data here or there isn’t likely to tank your company, but, at nearly $8,000 per hour, downtime just might. Strive for a good-enough recovery that keeps downtime to the absolute minimum.


2. Don’t Try to Plan for Every Conceivable Scenario

If your business is in East Jersey, you are probably wasting resources developing a plan for an earthquake. Similarly, if you’re in Vermont, you don’t need a tornado plan. As it happens, you only really need to plan for a small number of potential situations, because many would be redundant. For example, is there really a difference in IT restoration if the primary systems and facilities are hit by an earthquake, a hurricane, a flood, or a fire? Not really. In each instance, you’re facing the same basic obstacles: power outages, connectivity and communications outages, and likely the loss or damage of essential hardware and networking components. Instead of trying to cover all your bases in terms of what could happen, address issues of server loss, connectivity loss, and power loss, and develop a plan to restore under these conditions.


3. Don’t Forget the People

When drafting your disaster recovery plans, it’s not all about servers and routers and cables, oh my! It’s about people. After a disaster, your folks are going to work hard to restore your livelihood and theirs. But don’t forget — they have homes and families and pet hamsters back home that they’re worried about, too. Remember that they get tired, they get scared, and they need a little compassion. You can resume barking orders like a drill sergeant as soon as everyone’s back to normal and feeling safe.


4. Don’t Bother with Phony DR Tests (You Aren’t Fooling Anybody)

The trouble with testing a disaster recovery plan isn’t so much the testing, but the cheating. It’s almost impossible NOT to cheat. You already know there’s a drill coming up and since your IT team almost certainly developed the drill or had a heavy hand in it, there’s no element of surprise. A real disaster comes with no warning, no prep time, and no script. Instead, assign roles for all your team members, and don’t forget to assign backups for members who can’t make it in during severe weather or wide scale disasters. Then support your roles with excellent documentation: what needs restored, what needs checking, what’s essential, what’s expendable, etc. Now they aren’t working from a script but are working with a real, executable plan.

Are you ready to partner with a managed services provider that can deliver a disaster recovery plan that actually works? Request a quote from TOSS C3 today.

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