Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, power outages, equipment failure, hackers, employee error, malicious insiders… the list of potential threats to an organization’s data and business continuity seemingly are endless.
However, by following well-established disaster-recovery (DR) strategies for small businesses and medium-sized organizations, IT pros can effectively safeguard company data and keep their businesses running in the event of man-made or natural disasters, and even cyber-threats.
Here are the current, recommended disaster recovery best practices to protect against the worst-case scenarios that threaten the health – and even existence – of every company.
Plan and document
Preparing for disasters starts with assuming there will be disasters. Visualize disasters of every scope and size – from massive fires that melt the data center to the malfunction of a single server hosting critical data. Prepare specific recovery plans for each scenario, and then document the specific steps needed for each of those plans. Due diligence now can be the company’s salvation later.
Protecting company data is an absolutely essential component of disaster recovery. For business continuity, it’s also important for enterprise applications to remain functional and accessible to employees, customers, and partners, as a freeze on operations following a disaster can cause profound damage as well. IT pros should be sure to back up applications such as Active Directory, SQL, email servers, ERP, CRM, and all others that allow users to access data and services.
Use on-site and off-site protection
Backing up and recovering data and applications is a great step toward disaster preparedness. But if the server storing the backed-up data is in the same room (or even on the same campus) as the server storing the original data when the flood hits, it won’t do any good.
Businesses should back up and replicate data and systems into an on-site appliance and in the cloud for dual protection. In case of an outage, the business can quickly recover and restart its systems locally or in our cloud to continue providing IT services to internal and external constituents. This hybrid cloud approach will prevent the duplicates from being damaged or destroyed by the same natural disaster that hits the data center.
Disasters seldom hit while it’s convenient for the IT staff, and even seasoned pros can have conflicts. IT staff will want to take of their families and loved ones first. From there, the availability of IT staff to handle a disaster could range from prolonged business disruption to irretrievable data loss that can literally put the company out of business. Automate as many fail-over procedures as possible to take the human factor out of the equation.
Test, test, test
Devising a strategy and deploying DR technology is a great start. But it’s only a start. To ensure that your DR strategy and tools will do the job, run regular tests to make sure the backup plan will work. This is especially important as new elements are added to the data center and network.
Don’t go all DIY
For most organizations, data-related disasters aren’t everyday occurrences. (Good thing.) Therefore, even veteran IT pros can use a helping hand when it comes to disaster recovery. When building a plan and choosing a solution, it’s important to work with a partner that has the experience and expertise to ensure success.
IT pros should work with a disaster-recovery services partner that has a proven track record of helping similar organizations prepare for and recover from data-related disasters. Acronis provides an extensive range of solutions and services to help protect enterprise data, including the Acronis Disaster Recovery Service, a complete IT continuity solution that backs up and replicates systems into an on-site appliance and an Acronis cloud data center.
Learn more about the rules of IT disaster recovery in this webinar.