Protection of organization’s mission-critical functions at the wake of a disaster is disaster recovery. Disaster recovery is part of business continuity process with emphasis on keeping the business running in the face of a disaster.IT services are vital to success in businesses so, disaster recovery is the main pillar of business continuity process.Disaster recovery mainly focuses on IT systems and services that support important business functions.Businesses rely on data and applications for normal operation and when access to applications and data are lost, it leads to significant issues like loss of revenue, or worse, situations lead to closing of the business.
Disaster recovery plan helps in understanding potential risks that cause operational disruptions and helps in keeping the business running while reducing downtime.Disasters can be causes due to several reasons: Hardware FailureHuman errorsNatural disastersCyber crimes, etc.Loss of operation in the event of a disaster results in losses to businesses.According to a survey conducted in 2015, one hour of downtime can cost up to $700,000 for large enterprises.
Another survey shows that around 54% of companies have experiences a downtime of more than 8 hours over the past 5 years and for a day of downtime, most of these businesses would lose $20,000.Clearly, absence of a good disaster recovery plan costs a lot to the businesses and sometimes it can also lead to businesses closing down due to loss of goodwill and trust.The first step in preparing for disaster recovery is identification of potential risks to the system.After identifying the risks, evaluate the effect of events associated with these risks. Define remedial actions for each of the events based on its effect on the system.Document the disaster recovery plan.Disaster recovery plan is a document with well structured instructions to respond to unexpected disasters.The first step in disaster recovery plan is collecting an inventory of both hardware and software applications and data.Ensure that critical data is backed up.Identify important applications, data and hardware required to run important applications for ensuring business continuity.Then have the list of key people to contact incase of a disaster and make sure each one of them know the role they will play.Have a diagram of the entire system network for both current and recovery site.Have the list of key applications, data, hardware that need to recovered immediately incase of a disaster.Test the disaster recovery plan from time to time to make sure it works.When a disaster occurs, the first step is evaluating the situation. It is important to understand what systems (hardware/software) were affected.Based on the situation the recovery team is called in. The contact information of the recovery team should be included in the disaster recovery plan.Then the disaster recovery team comes in and implements the steps in the plan based on the situation. Like redirecting all business traffic to the recovery site, replacing failed hardware, correcting errors, etc.Service level agreements (SLAs) of businesses focus on the RAS model (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability) .To ensure reliability of a system in the wake of a disaster, it is necessary to ensure that the important function of the systems work as they are expected to after restoring the system.To ensure availability, the system has to brought up as soon as possible and disaster recovery plans should be in place to make sure that the system is brought up with minimum impact to the functions and data used by the customer.Serviceability is ensured by making sure that the disaster recovery plan is practical and works when there is actually a disaster. Some key elements of RAS are:Data backupData archivingHot swappable componentsVirtual machinesRedundant systemsIBM promises 99.95% availability.IBM achieves high availability by actively mirroring data between different sites and disaster recovery is ensured by replication of data between sites.IBM ensures that all data and applications are backed up at a recovery center or alternate computing facility and infrastructure is spun on the recovery center when a disaster occurs.IBM stores data and applications in multiple data centers across the world.Because applications are available in a backup recovery center, when traffic is re-routed to the recovery site in the wake of a disaster Reliability and Availability is maintained.Adobe promises a minimum uptime of 99.9% for their creative cloud services.Adobe cloud services have the below disaster recovery plan to maintain reliability and availability.When the primary data collection environment is not reachable due to a disaster, DNS is reconfigured to process data requests from a secondary location. At once, a hold is placed on data processing at the primary location affected by the disaster.If the primary location can be brought up to a stable state within 5 business days, no historical data will be sent to be stored at the secondary location.If the primary location cannot be restored, data from the back up recovery sites will be sent to the secondary location for storage and processing purposes.When the primary location is fixed, data collected at the secondary location will be merged with data at the primary location and DNS records will be restored.Similar to enterprise applications and data that have moved to the cloud, so has the process of disaster recovery. This service is referred to as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). DRaaS is a cloud service provided to protect business applications and data from disasters by facilitating a full recovery in the cloud.DRaaS is a good option as it is easy to deploy and it gives businesses the opportunity to test recovery plans regularly.And like all cloud computing services, DRaaS are low cost when compared businesses developing and implementing their own disaster recovery plans.However, there might be decrease in network performance of the system as the complexity of system increases.Microsoft Azure Site RecoveryZerto IT Resilience PlatformArcserve UDP Cloud DirectCarbonite Server Backup