Having your data ready at your fingertips allows your business to be competitive. Without that data, your company is jeopardized. So, think what would happen, specifically to your business, if a disaster to your computer (s) happens. Are you prepared? Do you have a recovery plan in place? Here are some guidelines to help ensure your data will always be available.
Ensuring Your Data Survives a Disaster
Develop A Plan
It makes sense to say the Disaster Recovery Plan is the key to surviving a data disaster. This plan must allow for:
- Data Backup
Whether it is on-line or on-site, creating a duplicate copy of your data is absolutely necessary. Caution: Do not rely on manual procedures for backups – you may forget to do them. Always looks for an automated procedure for data backup.
Determine if you need data backed up in more than one place.
- Geographic displacement
Housing your critical data in a different geographic region will guard against natural disasters taking your data.
- File and Folder Identification
Not all files and folders are critical. Program files can always be reinstalled. Specific user data could have been lost forever if not backed up.
- Backup Schedule
Identify if you want daily (nightly) backups that occur when most users are away from their machines, or if you want continuous backup. Continuous backup ensures most recent changes are captured, but there is a reduction of processing speed that will be noticed.
- Backup Type
Additionally, identify the specific type of data backup. That is, do the files need full or incremental backups? Do you need full backups done once a week, with incremental backups done daily?
- Retention Policy
Specify how long files need to be retained. Although disk space is much cheaper than it has ever been, capture and storing files indefinitely may not be the best option. Keep business data retention policies in mind, too.
Critically important to the Disaster Recovery Plan is management understanding and support. This means business management must acknowledge and fund the necessary steps and tools for implementing the Recovery Plan.
It does not good to have a beautiful plan if it does not get implemented.
- Ensure that all the machines identified in the plan have the proper software and hardware installed to execute the Recovery Plan
- Perform an audit on all identified machines as part of the qualification of readiness of the plan
Now that everything is in place, is it actually working?
- Test IT
Set up a mock disaster for a limited number of machines. Can you recover their data? Identify which steps in the Recovery Plan and Implementation are just not working or causing bottlenecks.
- Test IT regularly
Do not assume that once you completed one test it will always work in the future. Perform some regular tests for the complete process to ensure no “hiccups” have been introduced.
Following these basic guidelines and you will have your data up and ready after any disaster.