3 Tips for Better Disaster Recovery

Michelle DeFiore

The IT landscape is ever-evolving, with companies dealing with more data and information than ever before. As it becomes increasingly necessary to protect networks and critical infrastructure, it’s also becoming more complicated. Damage and disruption can come in many forms – hardware failure, human error or, as recently demonstrated by Hurricane Matthew, natural disaster.

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Database administrators and IT pros have a lot on their plates as is, like assessing applications’ day-to-day functional performance. So it can be easy to put incident response and disaster recovery solutions low on the priority list. However, the unfortunate reality is that you never now when a massive disruption can occur and, if and when it does, you want to ensure you have backup and recovery systems that are working properly. This includes monitoring the performance and availability of failover infrastructure.

Hurricane Matthew is a real-time example of the grave unexpectedness and devastating damage that can be brought on by natural disasters. Even organizations that aren’t in the storm’s direct path are, and will continue to be, impacted by some of the fringe effects. Of course, the primary goals for businesses during such severe storms are to ensure the safety of people and take measures to keep buildings intact. After this, the next priority is to ensure there is as little infrastructure failure, system shutdown and data loss as possible.

When disaster strikes, it’s the tools and processes you have in place that will influence your business’ resiliency, so you want to ensure heightened levels of protection. To do this, you must take a proactive approach to information security and incident response planning to focus on preparation as much as you do prevention.

Disaster prevention tools don't eliminate the need to prepare for one.Disaster prevention tools don’t eliminate the need to prepare for one.

1. Make planning a priority
Incident response and disaster recovery can’t be an afterthought. Unfortunately for many, it is. According to research conducted by V3 and Dell Software, almost half of organizations don’t have a backup strategy or disaster recovery plan in place – most take a fragmented approach. Perhaps this is why just 23 percent of companies don’t feel very confident that they would be able to fully recover IT systems in a timely manner.

You need to protect computer networks and critical infrastructure, which requires constant monitoring and maintenance. But you also must implement a sound approach to disaster recovery and incident response planning. Failing to prepare for a massive disruption won’t lessen the chances of it happening – it will just make it more stressful and complicated to deal with if or when it does.

“Companies that fail to prepare pay the biggest price.”

2. Identify and quantify risks
When it comes to natural disasters and infrastructure failure, there’s a lot at stake – like your business’s reputation and financial stability. Even knowing this, some organizations fail to adopt the proper backup and recovery tools because it is difficult to assess the return on investment.

Given the threat landscape of today’s environment, companies simply can’t afford to do nothing. The risks far outweigh any upfront costs. Conduct risk assessments to identify your organization’s biggest security vulnerabilities and incident response weaknesses.Then, determine the cost of what not protecting these risks would mean if disaster were to strike.

3. Monitor and test systems
When you have data protection or disaster recovery tools in place, you need to make sure they work. Sometimes, companies find out only after an outage or disruption that their backup system failed to kick in (looking at you, Delta Airlines).

According to a SANs and Intel Security report, 42 percent of companies don’t assess their incident response programs. You don’t want to wait to find out how effective your incident response solutions are until you are forced to use them in a real event. When it comes to incident response and disaster recovery, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the more damage that will likely be done. This is why you should regularly conduct trial runs to ensure all backup systems and recovery tools work properly.

Hurricane Matthew is just one timely example of the kind disasters that can severely impact your business. From hardware failure to system outages, disruptions come in many forms. You must always stay prepared, agile and responsive. To ensure seamless monitoring and maintenance of all network resources, use a single interface that offers visibility into the performance of your entire IT infrastructure, including your failover systems.

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