What would you do if a storm flooded your data center? Or how would you respond if a power outage blacked out your servers?
How would you recover your data and keep the business running after an unforeseen disaster?
When disasters strike unprepared companies the consequences range from prolonged system downtime and the resulting revenue loss to the companies going out of business completely, yet many IT shops are not prepared to deal with such scenarios.
The key to surviving such an event is a business continuity strategy, a set of policies and procedures for reacting to and recovering from an IT- disabling disaster, and the main component of a business continuity strategy is a disaster recovery plan (DRP). In this article, Internet.com and Cole Emerson, President of Cole Emerson & Associates, Inc., a business-continuity consulting firm, and chairman of the board of DRI International, administrators of a global certification program for business continuity/disaster recovery planners, walk through the basics of creating an effective DRP.
Step 1: Risk Analysis
The first step in drafting a disaster recovery plan is conducting a thorough risk analysis of your computer systems. List all the possible risks that threaten system uptime and evaluate how imminent they are in your particular IT shop. Anything that can cause a system outage is a threat, from relatively common man-made threats like virus attacks and accidental data deletions to more rare natural threats like floods and fires. Determine which of your threats are the most likely to occur and prioritize them using a simple system: rank each threat in two important categories, probability and impact. In each category, rate the risks as low, medium, or high.
- Step 2: Establish the Budget
- Step 3: Develop the Plan
- Step 4: Test, Test, Test