Glossary: Disaster Recovery

What is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster Recovery is an outline for how a business will prepare for a disaster, react to a disaster, and recover from a disaster.  A solid Disaster Recovery plan will help make these steps much smoother and easier when the worst occurs.

Quite often, disaster recovery is associated only with Information Technology.  This is not accurate.  When a disaster strikes, a business must consider all facets of it's operations when going through disaster recovery planning.  Physical and virtual assets are equally important when planning.  This is not to be confused with business continuity in which a business concentrates on keeping the business running during the disaster.  Most essential to every business is defining the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

RPO defines the how close to the point of impact of the event, that a business can recover it's data.  For example, if a fire occurs at 4pm, but the last backup occurred at 8pm the previous evening. The business would lose 20 hours of data.  The business has to decide if 20 hours of data is acceptable to it's RPO.

RTO defines how LONG it takes to execute the disaster recovery plan to get the business back in operation.  This can vary from minutes to days depending on the event and resources.

It is documented that for every $1 spent on disaster recovery planning, you save $4 in response and recovery costs.  You can not underestimate the benefits of planning.  In this digital age, we have more and more devices that we rely on in our personal and professional lives.  Understanding the scope by which these devices affect a business is very important in disaster recovery planning.  

Disaster Recovery Stages

Planning

Measures

There is a basic framework of measures that you can take in your disaster recovery plan:

- Preventive measures - Steps take to prevent a disaster
- Detective measures - Steps taken to attempt to detect or discover unwanted events
- Corrective measures - Steps taken to attempt to correct or restore the system after a disaster or event

Using these steps during your disaster recovery planning and execution will help to ensure the utmost success during an event.  Practicing D.R. testing regularly during non-event times is essential to success when the real event happens.

Strategies

There are many ways to protect your data.  Unfortunately; there is no one size fits all solution.  Each business is different.  A successful consultant will be able to engineer a solution that protects the business according to it's needs.  

Some common strategies are:

- backing up to tape and sending tapes off-site
- backing up to disk and copy data off-site to the Cloud through replication or some other means
- Private Cloud and hybrid cloud solutions

Summary:  There is no such thing as too many backups or too much planning and testing.  Plans evolve and the world changes, you must keep up with your disaster recovery planning at all times.

 

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