How Resilient is Your DR Plan?

October 25, 2018

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Let’s be honest. Your end users – whether they’re customers, partners, employees or some other stakeholder group – don’t care about your disaster recovery (DR) plan. They’re only concerned about accessing their data, using a specific application or service, or completing a transaction.

Your end users expect your company to be “resilient” if a disaster occurs, whether it’s a storm or a cyberattack. If it’s not, and they can’t get what they want when they want it, you could lose them.

That’s why it’s important not just to have a DR plan in place. You need a “resilient’ DR plan. Resilience is your company’s ability to maintain acceptable service levels for users regardless of any kind of disaster that may occur. The focus is on “uptime” and not just recovery time. Whereas traditional DR is inherently reactive, a resilient DR plan is proactive It’s designed not just to help you recover from a disaster. It incorporates elements to help you keep your business up and running throughout the disaster.

Resilience extends to all physical and virtual layers of an organization, including business processes, workflows, technologies, policies and even the people required for always-on availability. It may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

The Essentials of Resilient DR

While it’s difficult to find an off-the-shelf solution that can offer complete DR resiliency, it is possible to develop a customized, resilient DR plan. If you don’t have the internal resources to create one, consult with a third-party vendor that specializes in IT solutions that can be tailored to your company’s specific needs.

Here are some of the important components you may need in your DR plan in order to keep your mission-critical computing platforms and systems available even when disaster strikes:

  • A data center or colocation facility that employs redundant components, systems or subsystems. When one component or system fails or experiences an outage, the redundant element seamlessly takes over to continue providing services to end users. The data center or colocation facility should also be powered with separate utility feeds from diverse substations so that a backup is available when the first utility feed fails.
  • High-speed, low latency network connectivity to enable large quantities of data to be continuously replicated and synchronized in real-time between the facilities. There should also be sufficient network capacity to avoid bottlenecks. All the better is you also have monitoring of your WAN bandwidth consumption to allow network routes to be established and modified as required.
  • Around-the-clock monitoring of your systems and operations. This can enable you and/or your service provider to proactively identify and mitigate issues.
  • Support from a Technical Operations Center staffed 24/7/365. Disasters aren’t restricted to normal business hours. When you have a question or concern, you need to be able to reach a technical expert right away regardless of the time.  
  • Service level agreements (SLAs) for any data protection services, including DR, replication and backup, that guarantee infrastructure availability and recovery time objectives for greater peace of mind and protection from or prevention of downtime.
  • Cloud-based services for your DR, replication and backup, for on-demand, scalable compute and storage resources, along with the many benefits associated with cloud technologies.
  • Measures (employed by you or your service provider) that can reduce the probability of system failure such as load balancing servers to prevent an overload, or providing redundant systems that can prevent single points of failure.

Ideally, you want access to a second (or possibly multiple) strategically located, geographically-distributed data centers or colocation facilities.  If an unplanned outage or system failure occurs at one facility, your data and applications remain available at an alternate site or multiple sites.

It’s important to note that not all your workloads and applications need as much protection and availability as others. A business impact analysis and risk assessment of all your IT assets can help you determine their acceptable levels of availability and better match elements of your DR plan to meet those requirements.

Your Next Steps

Whether you have a DR plan in place or considering one, US Signal can help.

A good place to start is with our free DR Checklist. It can help you assess your company’s state of DR readiness and identify areas of weakness.

US Signal’s solution architects are also available to create a customized DR solution to meet your company’s specific needs, as well as help you create an IT roadmap to address current and future needs. 

Call 866.2.SIGNAL or email us at: info@ussignal.com