Grand Canyon Vault, LLC.  (USA)
Offsite Backup Solutions for Windows Servers and Desktops

Disaster Recovery Services

Every business should have a business continuity plan in place. Not an idea, but a well articulated and detailed course of action to ensure that their business can get through a disaster and continue on in the aftermath. This plan includes crisis management, business procedures/processes and work area management to name a few considerations.

Another important, yet often overlooked part of your business continuity plan is IT disaster recovery (DR). In broad terms, this is how you deal with and prevent IT downtime. Even if every other part of your business continuity plan is executed perfectly, you remain at a standstill if your IT systems go down and stay down. And the situation will only get worse as your revenue and reputation take a beating.

Remember, Disaster Recovery Isn't The Same As Disaster Prevention

There's a huge difference between disaster prevention and disaster recovery. Both are necessary. But the former only mitigates the risk of downtime. The latter makes sure if downtime happens you can actually get your IT back online quickly

The main metrics for setting service level objectives with regard to resuming business operations are:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) — the amount of time allowed to fully resume operations based on the maximum acceptable downtime;
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) — the maximum amount of time that can elapse between the creation of data and its replication (e.g., through backup), based on the maximum data loss the system can tolerate due to unexpected failure.

There are two distinct methods of data replication:

  • synchronous replication guarantees that an exact copy of the data is present at two sites. In the event of a disaster at the primary site, operations can begin almost immediately at the disaster recovery site (low RTO and RPO near zero);
  • asynchronous replication is used to overcome the distance limitations of synchronous replication and minimise the risks associated with disasters with large-scale repercussions (e.g., earthquakes that could affect both sites).

Business continuity / Disaster Recovery

Business continuity / Disaster Recovery Plans come in various forms, each reflecting the corporation's particular set of circumstances. The following are some of the general step required to develop and implement a plan.

  • Policy Statement (Goal of plan, reasons and resources)
  • Business Impact Analysis (how shutdown impacts the business financially and otherwise)
  • Identify Preventive Steps (can disaster be avoided by taking prudent steps)
  • Recovery Strategies (how and what you will need to recover)
  • Plan Development (Write plan and implement plan elements)
  • Plan buy-in and testing (very important - everyone knows the plan and knows what to do)
  • Maintenance (continuous changes to reflect current situation)