Disaster recovery provider

How to Choose a Disaster Recovery Provider?

November 28, 2017

A good disaster recovery firm will work hard to put themselves out of business.

While this may sound like an odd statement, our hope is always that clients never need us to help recover their data. The goal is to protect the network so that a disaster never actually occurs.

That’s why a disaster recovery firm is more than just an incident mitigation specialist. They can also provide security and technical expertise to keep your data safe. While malware and hackers will make every effort to breach your IT network, a good IT partner can help ensure they won’t succeed.

But finding these partnerships can be a difficult task when you lack the technical expertise to ask the right questions. This article will help you understand the characteristics of a good disaster recovery provider along with the best questions to pose when interviewing these vendors.

Can your firm quickly get back on track after a disaster? Get a free assessment to learn more about a disaster recovery plan that will work for you.

What Makes a Good Disaster Recovery Provider?

We believe a good disaster recovery provider can help develop a planning and implementation process for protecting data and recovering it. Not all disaster recovery providers offer this service. But understanding the steps necessary to get your business back on track will be crucial to the recovery process.

Disaster can come in many forms: a tornado or flood, a cybersecurity breach, or just equipment failure. An experienced disaster recovery provider will walk you through each of these scenarios and develop a series of steps to initiate no matter what happens. The plan should include the steps necessary to also “save face” with customers and the public should a service outage affect them in any way.

Disaster recovery begins with regular backups of your data and functions. Look closely at these components. For example:

  • Ask your providers about backup frequency, what’s covered under the procedure, and where the data is stored. Ideally, the data would be stored in the cloud, or at least offsite from your existing facility. Continuous backup is preferable than the traditional nightly backup; the cloud makes this a seamless process.
  • Find out about encryption, which is a process of scrambling your data so that only approved users can read it. Make sure your disaster recovery provider is encrypting data as it flows to and from the cloud as well as when it is being stored in a data center.
  • Make sure other digital devices that are used as part of work are also part of the disaster recovery plan. A good IT outsource partner will also be able to manage cell phones and tablets, for example. If this is relevant to your firm, how often is cell data backed up?
  • Can your disaster recovery provider offer a hybrid backup model, where data is stored in the cloud as well as on a local server? Generally, the best technology infrastructures offer redundancy; this should be a strong part of your disaster recovery plan.
  • If the vendor is using the cloud for data backups, the vendor will typically rent space from a provider such as Microsoft, Google, or AWS. Or, they could use their own data center. Find out where your data will be stored and whether there are multiple data centers. The benefit is if one data center goes dark, data can be moved somewhere else. The big cloud providers all offer this security.
  • Also, discuss what happens if the disaster occurs after hours. How will your recovery process change if it’s at 2:00 AM on a holiday? What if it’s a regional service outage related to a natural disaster? What is the time to restore and recover your service? Talk with your provider about which services should have priority over others when recovery is necessary.
  • What testing of your disaster recovery services will occur? It’s important that your provider not only help you establish a plan but test it, including doing a dry run for recovering data.

While these are all important tips, it’s also important to look for a vendor with an established track record in your industry. The best providers will offer a service level agreement that clearly defines the expected amount of time to recovery for your services, the roles of everyone involved, the technology used, and the terms and cost of the agreement. These documents set the stage for a strong partnership between the firm and the disaster recovery provider they choose.

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