Let’s begin at the end. There’s a disaster. Your data is gone. What do you do? Well, hopefully, you’ve already done everything you need to do; otherwise, you’re in a heap of trouble. You can’t recover data if you haven’t backed it up or if you haven’t planned in advance.
We’re going to explore how to begin that disaster recovery plan and why it’s more important than ever. I briefly touched upon this strategy in my last post, “The 10 Percent Rule for Backing Up Your Data,” in which I explained that the recovery process should always begin at the end, which, of course, is the point of failure.
I’m not suggesting starting literally at the end. First of all, it’s impossible (unless you’re a time traveler), and, second of all, no one wants to invite disaster.
Instead, ask yourself what you would do if you showed up to work and everything was missing. Everything had crashed. The pipes had burst and the flooding had damaged all your hardware. Whatever that scenario might be, what’s the first thing you think about? That first thought represents the foundation of your disaster recovery plan.
The content of that initial thought will naturally pertain to the piece of data that is most critical to the operational functionality of your business, which speaks to a vital part of disaster recovery: separating the business-critical data from the noncritical data.
What do you need for your business to be up and running? How long can you realistically be without that data before the health of your business is severely impacted? Asking those questions gives you the blueprint for what needs to be recovered and in what timeframe.
The biggest issue is that data is growing out of control. If you’re not thinking about that, you’re in a lot of trouble. The temptation is to back everything up indiscriminately, but that actually impedes on your ability to get your business back up when a failure takes place. Sifting through all that data, if it hasn’t been organized and prioritized, just isn’t feasible.
Tougher recovery demands compound the problem. Users are intolerant of any data loss or downtime, putting a lot of pressure on IT managers, who are working in environments in flux thanks to evolving technologies and a growing variety of end-points that need to be protected.
We All Need a Plan
It behooves every business to have a disaster recovery plan in place. Every business will have some kind of data failure at some point. It’s also important to consider that many people don’t plan for disaster because they assume it won’t happen to them. Given a long enough timeline, though, we all experience events we don’t foresee.
A perfect example of this phenomenon is the odd weather conditions in the Northeast this summer and in October. No one would have thought that an earthquake, albeit a mild one, and a hurricane would affect the East Coast within a week of each other. No one thought a snowstorm would hit in October, but that’s exactly what happened.
This should serve to drive home the following point: The unpredictable has a habit of taking place. In a world of unforeseen events, we must prepare for all eventualities.
What does that plan look like? Stay tuned for my next post to find out.