As Information Technology aims to better organize the structure of data and its manipulation in handling business organizations, comes the danger of data loss, and erroneous update when a disaster strikes and damages your company’s IT infrastructures.
A common meme (joke) circulating the internet on disaster recovery is to first, “GIT Push, then run!” Which means, you have to make sure first that your latest source codes are pushed (backed up) to the repository for sakekeeping and recovery.
But since the above statement can be perceived as a joke, the true horror lies in having to work in the IT industry without having to prepare for a Disaster Recovery Plan.
Why is it important?
Such plan documents the processes or sets of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. As such, it is a precautionary measure to minimize the effects of a disaster to protect assets and prevent possible closure of businesses after a data disaster.
IT Disaster Recovery Plan
1. The IT Disaster Recovery Plan team
For the IT Disaster Recovery Plan to work as intended, staff involvement is a vital component. This makes it imperative to involve the HR Department when the IT Disaster Recovery Plan is being drawn up.
2. Contact Details of Managers, First Responders, Critical Staff and other Staff
A document should be drawn up showing contact details of all staff plus alternate contact numbers, e mail id’s etc. It should be updated at frequent and regular intervals.
3. The importance of a clear-cut ‘Chain of Command’
During a disaster, it is important that orders DO NOT come from all sides. The IT Disaster Recovery Plan document should clearly delineate a ‘Chain of Command’. The person at the top will declare the disaster and set the IT Disaster Recovery Plan into effect.
4. Have a designated Disaster Authority as per the IT Disaster Recovery Plan
A single person in charge, who knows the steps to take, as per the IT Disaster Recovery Plan will bring order out of the potential chaos which follows a disaster. This person should know what steps are to be taken in the face of a disaster.
5. Alternate Production Centers
In many instances, a disaster takes out the primary production center. Therefore, standby alternate production centers are a necessity. Since one size does not fit all, each business should evaluate what type of alternative production site requirements are needed. Some alternatives are:
- A fully equipped new site at a different geographical location, ready to start production immediately.
- Reciprocal arrangement with other similar businesses for use of their facilities temporarily
- Tie-up with Convention Centers, Hotels etc.
- Work from home till production site can be re-started
6. What are the vulnerabilities in the location of your production site?
In some places flooding may be the main threat whereas in other places it could be tornadoes. Make a check-list of the probability of different types of vulnerabilities which could affect production and take mitigating steps.
7. Data Back-up
Data should be backed up at regular intervals. Depending on the type of business, the frequency of back-up can be determined. In a business which cannot afford to lose any data, real-time back-up will be needed. Cloud back-ups are becoming increasingly popular.
8. List of critical equipment
A business should make a list of all its critical equipment, without which, the business cannot function. This is of crucial importance to ensure production down time is kept to a minimum.
Before that disaster strikes, minimize the damages!