How to plan for Disaster Recovery

Simon

Simon
Writes on 2nd August 2013

Simple disaster recovery planning can save you a lot of pain. This short article will help you to get started with your DR plan.

Has your business planned for potential disaster recovery or serious issues that may affect you business?

Before deciding what to put in place you need to assess the risk factors within the business. These may include loss of key people, loss of computer systems, loss of data or even the loss of something less significant such as keys. The factors that constitute a disaster will be different for each business and it’s often best to brainstorm all possible factors that impact your business and then list them in order of importance. Decide what you can operate with and what you can live without for a set period of time.

Within our business and for clients working with us we suggest making a list of significant factors where a website, database or server may be affected. If we host several servers for a client we will list some key factors and potential issues revolving around our data centre and the requirements of our client. We then run these factors through the risk matrix below. This should help assess what needs to be catered for and what costs are reasonable to ensure a continuity of service.

It’s most likely that many scenarios have been addressed within your business, but this is an exercise well worth doing when planning for disaster recovery. Should the a disaster occur you will be much more likely to survive as a business if you have a plan in place and you already know what the most likely effects will be. It’s worth spending an hour to think about it!

 

Once the key factors have been identified, we need to see how they have been addressed and see what the lead time to resolution is for those events. If they are insufficient then we need to reconsider the procedures in place and plan for them.

We flag each factor with a status based on its likelihood and also on how severe the consequence will be. Our DR matrix is set out below.

Likelihood

Consequences

5. Almost certain

5. Calamity

4. Probable

4. Serious loss of business

3. Possible

3. Loss of business

2. Unlikely or Unfortunate

2. Inconvenience

1. Rare almost no chance

1. No real loss

 

Disaster recovery planning 

Using the above matrix we need to list the possible scenarios. Below are a few made up for this article. We need to address any items that leave the business at risk for more than 4 hours.

Risks at ABC company

Likelihood

Cons.

Score

Planned

Outage

Confidence

Loss of primary connection to internet

2

5

10

Yes

0hrs

High

Loss of Power at Data Centre

3

5

15

Yes

0hrs

High

Fire in Data Room

2

5

10

Yes

unknown

High

Fire at head office

2

5

10

Yes

unknown

Average

Loss of primary web server

3

5

15

Yes

1hrs

High

Loss of Domain controller

3

5

15

Yes

1hrs+

Average

Loss of Database server

3

5

15

Yes

1hrs

High

DDoS Attack

3

4

12

Yes

0hrs

High

Hack of database or web site

2

4

8

Yes

4hrs

High

Loss of data on disk drive due to failure

4

5

20

Yes

4hrs

High

Human Error

3

5

15

Yes

4hrs

High

Loss of key personnel

2

2

4

Yes

4hrs

Average

Key personnel on holiday or unavailable

4

2

8

Yes

4hrs

High

Requirement for External support

3

3

9

Yes

2hrs

Average


 

Now that you have addressed the scenarios in the matrix and planned for them, it would be a good idea to add other items to your plan. So write up a very brief paragraph on each item. What would you do if? Who would you contact if? This will make it easy for any staff member to help out if you are not available.

Hopefully you will find your disaster recovery plan sits safe in a cupboard and collects dust, never to see the light of day again. But by addressing the potential pitfalls you will become a great deal more aware of what is important in your business and it will give you the opportunity to make the changes before it’s too late.

Our Gloucestershire based data centre located conveniently between Cheltenham and Gloucester provides co-location hosting and managed disaster recovery space for many of our clients. Some set up a VPN between their internal IT systems and mirror all their data to co-location servers in our racks and others request us to provide managed hosting and all types of off site backup for them. In the case of a disaster we can provide desks with PCs, internet access and free coffee too. 

Contact us to discuss your disaster recovery plans or look at hosting DR servers with us  


Simon Mellor

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1 comments

  1. harekrishna

    Thanks for giving the excellent guidance about the error pages such as 404, 500. There are other error pages those are important for examples 301, 302.

    Webnetism

    Yes of course you are right. There are other error pages that you must pay attention to. The 301 errors are resolved by our CMS and eCommerce platform by providing a dynamic 301 redirect table within the system. Whenever a product or page is removed or renamed you are invited to provide the old and new URL so that a 301 redirect can be set up. Within our CMS platform this resolves most instances of a 301 issue. So to be clear the 301 is a permanent redirect of a page while the 302 is a temporary redirect of a page.

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