Overview

Most natural disasters are somewhat predictable. The unnatural ones which cripple an organization are not. There are countless disasters which could occur at a moment's notice. Understanding each scenario and practicing the defined response is critical to an organization's ability to overcome the disaster.

Understanding

Building a sound disaster recovery strategy starts by first understanding the acceptable losses and downtime across the organisation as a whole as it relates to each application and associated data set.

4 key measurements are used by high powered IT leaders to manage a disaster recovery strategy:

  1. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) - the maximum time frame an organization is willing to lose data.
  2. Recovery Time Objective (RTO) - the time it should take to make the switch.
  3. Recovery Time Actual (RTA) - the actual time it took to make the switch.
  4. RTA-RTO gap - If this value is zero or your RTA is less than your RTO then you are in compliance with your organization's objectives.

IT teams work to design the solution based on the RPO value. This sort of dictates the budget or is decided upon by the budget available. The more you are willing to spend the lower the objective can be. This team then needs to measure the RTO and RTA of a quarterly exercise. The difference is called the RTA-RTO gap.

Although the DR process is designed & tested by the DR group, it really is an organizational movement. Think of it like a fire alarm going off at a school. The entire organization needs to behave in a certain way while the fire alarm’s locations, ability to ring, alerting process, response of fire team, police, etc. are already grooved. It is easy to do the process but sometimes hard to get the organizational response processes worked out.

Scenarios

Scenarios can be categorized under the following areas:

  • Loss of Key Staff
  • Loss of Key Technical Infrastructure
  • Loss or Corruption of Key Data - Backing up data without a DR plan is one of the most dangerous things a company can do. It creates a false sense of security and leaves organisations unnecessarily exposed to risk. 
  • Environmental

BestUltimate List of Disaster Recovery Testing Scenarios

Other Info About Disaster Recovery

When there is an unlimited amount of money, most disasters can have a predefined response. It is important to keep in mind that most companies don't have the money to implement a response for every scenario. Management needs to be informed of what can be properly responded to by I.T. and what can not so that when something goes wrong, blame is not wrongly assigned.

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