By Matt Seeley, Carbonite
The moment you experience an outage or loss of data is not the time to wonder whether your disaster recovery solution will work. As with anything that protects the lifeblood of your business, you need to know it will work.
To ensure you have a proven process for protecting your company’s data, you’ll want to know a few key bits of information:
- Know your data
- What’s the nature of the data that drives your company?
- What is the level of importance for that data?
- Where does it reside?
- How it is secured?
- How it is protected?
- Who has access to it?
- Know your applications
- What data sits in each application?
- Is the application on a physical server or a virtual server?
- Are there key requirements for any of the applications?
- Who uses the application and what data do they have access to?
- How are the applications protected?
- Who are the application business owners?
- Know the cost of downtime
- What are the consequences to your customers?
- How will data loss impact your internal operations?
- What’s impact of data loss to your reputation?
With a clear understanding of these three areas, you can start to put together a test plan for how to make sure you are prepared for worst-case scenarios.
Swedish economist Thomas Sterner said, “Everything in life worth achieving requires practice.” This is certainly true when it comes to disaster recovery. To get the best results, you must practice. This means having a working knowledge of how to perform different types of recovery, from a single file to the entire environment. It also includes knowing where the data resides, how users access it and what the data represents to the business. This will help you prioritize what gets protected and in what way.
With backup, you can never be too careful or methodical in how you deploy, monitor and test your backup solution. Each of these tasks will be the building blocks of your data protection plan, and the tool you use in the event you need to recover your data, application or server.
With backup, you need to test the recovery process as if an event is happening. When testing the restoration of your most critical data, it’s helpful to have a recovery environment so you can verify functionality of the environment once it is restored. The recovery environment can be at scale or pared down to fit what you’re testing.
If the solution you use has an instant recovery option for virtual environments, you need to make sure to test that as well. Knowing this will save you time in the recovery process and simplify the recovery of your infrastructure.
Here is a list of tests to run with your backup solution:
- Run a test of how long it takes to back up a given quantity of data
- Run a restore of this same information and record the results
- Run an application backup
- Run a restore of this same application and record the results
- Run a VM backup
- Make sure to test out your VM restore types
- Run an offsite restore test
- If your data is in a cloud or remote location, you should know how long it takes to recover from that location
Last but not least, make sure to establish a regular testing schedule, ideally once a quarter. More frequently is even better.
Without regular testing, you’ll never be confident in your disaster recovery preparedness. If you can’t trust in your ability to bounce back from disruptions, you could suffer catastrophic consequences in the form of financial setbacks, damaged relationships and diminished reputation. Carbonite gives you the tools you need to protect data, with options for disaster recovery testing that builds confidence in your ability to prevent major disruptions to your business.