Firms disasters are often classified into three categories: natural, such as hurricanes and earthquakes; technological failures; and human, either on purpose or by accident. But regardless of what causes a catastrophe, the requirement to recovery and receive a business back up and running is paramount.
To put it differently, how much information is a company willing to lose if its network goes down.
By way of example, a company that continually replicates all backups to separate data centers that are actively up and running 24/7 has created an architecture with a tight RPO and RTO. A business which allows information to be reproduced off-premise asynchronously or backed-up only to tape expects it’s going to lose some of the data being transmitted at the time of failure and assumes it will take longer to restore systems.
Data Recovery: How to Avoid Data Loss Tips
- Start With Prevention
Assess your risks and potential business impacts to determine ways you can minimize the potential for disasters beforehand. Conduct regular audits and system checks of your fire prevention and safety systems.
2. Disaster Recovery Plan Needed
The Disaster Recovery plan needs to represent all functional areas within IT before, during, and after a disaster. It needs to include programs, networks, servers & storage. Contingencies, such as”what-if” scenarios should be considered as part of the planning process. Decisions will need to be made regarding levels of disturbance that will constitute a tragedy, downtime and loss tolerances.
For Instance, a typical Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) might include the following:
Information Technology Statement of Intent — This sets the stage and direction for the Program.
Policy Statement — Critical to include an approved statement of policy about the provision of disaster recovery services.
Objectives — Main goals of the Strategy.
Key Personnel Contact Info — Vital to have key contact data near the front of the strategy. It’s the information most likely to be used straight away and should be easy to find.
Plan Overview — Describes essential aspects of the plan, such as updating.
Emergency Response — Describes what has to be done immediately after the onset of an incident.
Disaster Recovery Team — Members and contact information of the DR team.
Media — Tips for dealing with the media.
Insurance — Summarizes the insurance coverage related to the IT environment and any other relevant policies.
Financial and Legal Issues — Actions to take for dealing with financial and legal issues.
Appendix A — Technology Disaster Recovery Plan Templates — Sample templates for an assortment of technology recoveries; helpful to have technical documentation available from select vendors.
Appendix B — Suggested Types — Ready-to-use forms which will help facilitate the plan completion.
3. Keep the Disaster Recovery Plan Present
Disaster Recovery planning needs to be part of the everyday operations of their IT environment. Once the Disaster Recovery plan is made, it has to be maintained and updated every time a component within the IT environment changes. For example, when key personnel change or when insurance policy changes. The dynamic nature of IT environment ensures that the Disaster Recovery plan will fail if the direction of the plan isn’t part of change management.
4. Inventory all IT resources
Having a complete picture of what you have is essential. Inventorying all your assets allows you to structure your priority systems and make sure that each server has been recovered. Literally, being able to cross them off as they restored is a simple, systematic way to approach getting a company back up and running.
5. Appoint a disaster recovery team
Create a team of workers who know just what to do during a crisis and can evaluate damages and implement recovery plans in the wake of a disaster. Make sure you include someone from all regions of the business. Appoint a leader to be responsible for developing, managing and updating your disaster recovery plan.
6. Store System Passwords
Passwords should be kept in at least two different secure locations, only one of which is in the exact same building as your IT equipment. At least two staff members must have access to them.
7. Keep Documenting
Be sure the whole retrieval process to get you up and running again is recorded, and includes the areas of system recovery and other crucial discs. Make sure key staff are familiar with these products.
8. Log Downtime Events
The majority of these downtime events are minor and easily or quickly adjusted. Think of it as an on-going snapshot of what is going on with your network. All events provide valuable lessons. A record has to be maintained to help evaluate the status quo and to enable a fact-based discussion with management.
9. Automate SMS Texts
These staff members must be trained so that they can perform basic disaster recovery/back-up tasks unsupervised. You might be able to do this through an arrangement with a third party service provider.
10. Practice your disaster recovery plan
DRPs should be analyzed on a quarterly basis or more. This not only sharpens your disaster recovery team’s abilities but it is also going to familiarize new staff with the procedure. This ensures your disaster recovery strategy is kept up to date by revealing any issues with new equipment or software. The Disaster Recovery plan needs to be tested regularly to make sure the business can recover the operation successfully and on time. Disaster Recovery testing is a significant challenge for many IT departments, but when recovery hasn’t been tested all of the ways to the program level, it is very likely that problems will occur. Even though a Disaster Recovery test is a significant operational disruption, it should not be treated as a pro forma exercise but needs to include accurate end-to-end testing all the way to manufacturing. By way of example, the focus has to be on recovering software rather than servers since with today’s complex applications, client-server and web-based multi-tier applications, the elements reside on multiple servers thus you will find inter-dependencies between these. If disaster recovery has not been tested all the way to the application level, it’s incredibly likely that problems will occur.
11. Again – Back It Up
No matter how good your disaster recovery plan, it cannot recover data that is not there if you fail to back it up. Make sure there’s a routine for backing up data regularly and ensure it is completed. Build as much redundancy on your system as possible to eliminate any single points of failure. This includes a multi-path data route to the machine so that you can still access your information if one or more route fails.
12. Maintain offsite data backups
A thorough tape archive strategy is critical. To minimize recovery times in cases where the physical assets of the main data center are still operational, backup data has to be available on locally stored tapes.
Besides, it’s vital to protect business operations from the probability of the destruction of the data center. That means backup tapes must be accessible at a secondary site. Maintaining an up-to-date copy of backup data at an offsite location is worth almost any price. A regional fireproof vault is not an adequate alternative because, depending on the circumstances, the vault may not offer sufficient protection or may not be accessible quickly following a disaster.
Another critical point: simple internet backup solutions can be useful but only if there’s an internet connection during the disaster and just if it’s fast enough to restore data on time.
13. Prioritize Data and Applications
All data and applications are not created equal. Some will be crucial in reestablishing the business and need to be restored. Recovery of secondary data and applications could be deferred until the critical applications and data are restored. The data recovery plan should explicitly state the recovery order of information and software to reflect these priorities.
14. Don’t omit standalone statistics from the recovery program
Increasingly, business-critical data and files are stored on laptop and desktop computer disk drives. The data recovery plan should include details on how this information will be backed up and recovered when lost.
15. Have Spares
Arrange to have spare hot hard disk drives in the system, or at least physically accessible in the same room as your storage system.
16. A tape archive strategy is crucial
Tapes used on a daily basis should be replaced every six to nine months to prevent deterioration — backups are no use if they can’t be recovered. Other tapes should be returned on a regular, less regular, schedule dependent on the frequency of usage. Being able to back up to a remote location is worth almost any cost, a fireproof vault isn’t an alternative to an off-site site.
17. Try a restore
The most significant problem in DR is when you recover all of your backup data only from discovering that you don’t have everything you need to bring your application back to life.
18. Secure the Best UPS
Get yourself the very best, longest-life, most uninterruptible power source you can. Then get an extra battery backup for your cache to choose this.
19. Test your plan
Do an “ad hoc” tabletop exercise. Place some sticky notes on various pieces of hardware in your data center or on the monitors of your employees indicating hardware or software failures. Then call your DR team into a meeting area and walk through the procedures to address the mock disaster scenario. This is a lot cheaper than scheduling a formal DR test event, and it allows you to test procedures in a sequential manner that provides an excellent rehearsal for retrieval team participants
20. Protect Against Random Threats
Don’t neglect to protect yourself from accidental theft, vandalism and employee malice, since they can be just as disastrous as anything else. At the very least ensure that the door to your data/server area is locked, day and night.
21. Operational Fire Doors
An automatically closing fire door to the data/server room will keep fire and smoke from the space for a surprisingly long time.
22. Use Many Different Communications
When staff has to be informed of a DR event, normal communication channels, such as email and telephone, could be disrupted. Consider text messaging, personal email addresses and alternate phone numbers as other communication vehicles. Moreover, there are third-party companies that can handle disaster communications.
23. Move Beyond Technology
Businesses both large and small often miss one significant disaster recovery point. Disaster recovery involves more than just technology. You absolutely must have additional copies of data, systems that keep running when a disk fails, and offsite backup. But all of that will not do much good in the event of a significant earthquake or hurricane if there is not any water or power for five days.
This might include using a diesel generator on site with enough fuel for many days, or even something creative like having the boss’s (or a worker’s ) motorhome double as an Emergency Center. Such vehicles typically include their own generator and a wireless internet connection. The disaster recovery plan, therefore, could entail having essential workers coming to work at that place and getting the computer systems up and running from there.
24. Hire A Pro
For most small-to-medium sized businesses, not only is implementing a strong DRP cost prohibitive, but also the right technical skills are absent. Managed Service Providers (MSP) have emerged over the last decade to help businesses perform these tasks. MSPs have the technical personnel to design, execute, and manage complex DR projects. Additionally, they possess the server, storage and network infrastructure to perform a DRP. An MSP will also work closely with your company to keep costs at a minimum. Having said that, if your business is mortally wounded because of a disaster, there is entirely no price tag that can make up for failure to plan.
A great data recovery company is Ecodatarecovery.com