Disaster recovery is necessary as a means to maintain business continuity in the face of catastrophe. However, the planning process can be difficult, full of pitfalls, and time-consuming even when done correctly. Many organizations still neglect to fully invest in disaster recovery due to the resources, funding, and amount of time required to implement a solution, despite the fact that the consequences of a disaster can outweigh their investment. To mitigate the stress of this process, we’ve put together a list of 4 mistakes to avoid when disaster recovery planning.
Disaster Recovery is not the Same as High Availability
Though high availability technology is being continuously improved, it cannot replace a disaster recovery plan. While high availability has always been an alternative for achieving recovery after a disaster, these strategies are often limited by budget. This is due to the fact that high availability is usually more expensive than other options, and also impractical for data and workloads that are not required to be continuously available. Many companies typically only need 10% of their workloads to be available at all times.
Everything Doesn’t Need to be Backed Up
Though backing up your data is important, it’s not necessary to back up all of it. In truth, a large portion of your data is likely non-changing and can be transferred from production storage to an archive platform. Another group of your data can also probably be eliminated altogether. The remaining data does need to be backed up or replicated frequently in order to capture day-to-day changes. By only backing up what is truly necessary and segregating archive data from production data, you can cut costs on protection and reduce recovery times.
Be Wary of Mismanaging Data and Infrastructure
Those new to recovery planning can often unintentionally ignore the initial causes of disaster; namely a lack of management of infrastructure and data. Without proper data management, costs will increase during the planning process. If management isn’t aware of which data is important, then all data will be protected using costly methods. Additionally, if infrastructure monitoring and reporting capabilities cannot be implemented, you won’t be able to proactively respond to impending failures in equipment, which makes disaster harder to prevent. These issues can be mitigated through the deployment of data classification and resource management tools.
Don’t let Poorly Designed Apps Impact Disaster Recovery
In order for business continuity capabilities to reach their full potential, recoverability and resiliency should be built into applications and infrastructure. Poor design choices will complicate an organization’s recovery attempts in the future. This includes coding applications using insecure functions, platforming data and applications in proprietary server hypervisors or storage platforms, and employing so much caching that large amounts of sensitive data will be lost in the event of an interruption. If disaster recovery planners are able to get involved early on, applications can be designed better, meaning that IT will be more easily recoverable at a lower price.
The point of all of this is not to overwhelm you, but instead, open your eyes to the realities of disaster recovery planning. With the vital knowledge you need to adequately prepare, your recovery plan will be comprehensive and well thought out, rather than full of missteps. Consider this information when you start planning for disaster as an approach to create the best plan possible.
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