Business processes are heavily dependent on deployed technologies. Any prolonged system downtime can be costly in terms of productivity and revenue. To ensure continuous system availability, organizations invest in robust IT infrastructure, establishing local and remote data centers and deploying failover strategies. But the bitter truth is no matter how robust the IT infrastructure, system downtime or failure is unfortunately an expected anomaly and should be planned for accordingly. Animato works with its clients to ensure that disaster recovery and business continuity plans are in place and ready to be activated at all times. I would like to share with you some tips and some drills that we implement periodically to help avoid business disruption.
• Keep a set of disaster recovery workstations at each work location or office you may have. These workstations should be hooked up to the internet/intranet so that identified personnel can access the enterprise. Beyond an Internet browser, some workstations may require certain development and office tools. Make sure those tools are installed and kept up to date.
• Your enterprise infrastructure’s architecture components may be distributed among different local data centers or locations. For example, your application and database servers are in Location A while web servers are in location B. It is very important to conduct a drill in which you assume that Location A is inaccessible or Location B is inaccessible. You should be able to recover alternative servers accordingly.
• Your organization should have remote (out of state) data centers or locations in the event both Location A and B are inaccessible and you need to recover an entire enterprise. As part of your disaster recovery and business continuity drill, it is your responsibility to conduct a drill periodically to ensure you are able to recover a whole enterprise successfully.
• During any disaster recovery procedure, key resources designated as a first response team should manage the procedure from the activation point to the successful system restore and recovery. Communication is very important throughout the entire procedure. Contact information should be handy at all times and progress updates should be posted periodically.
• Many of your business processes rely on incoming and outgoing files from different vendors. Ensure you have in place an alternative and secure method of file transfer that includes FTP/SFTP/Encryption software. This would allow you to send payroll files to the bank, for example.
• Each disaster recovery and business continuity procedure or drill is an opportunity for lessons learned. You should avail yourself of it and make improvements to the procedure. Update the disaster recovery and business continuity document accordingly.
These are some of the tips that might make your life easier when a disaster strikes. Please feel free to share with us some tips you may have in your own disaster recovery and business continuity procedures.