Are You Testing Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Disaster recovery enables an organization to implement a plan for maintaining or quickly resuming business critical operations after a disaster. Any organization that uses computers must have a strategy for data backup and restoration since the consequences of data loss or corruption due to hardware failure, human error, hacking, or malware could be considerable.

The only way to guarantee that a hardware failure won’t disrupt your service or result in data loss is to have a disaster recovery strategy that does this. Even though doing so can be expensive for an IT infrastructure. Regular data backups have been the more expensive and traditional method.

But are you testing your disaster recovery plan to ensure that it is working according to your business requirements?

Let us start by understanding what a disaster recovery plan is:

What Is A Disaster Recovery Plan?

Businesses can leverage an IT disaster recovery plan, which is a well-thought-out, strategic document, to recover from a crisis (natural or otherwise). It entails a step-by-step procedure for restarting work following an unexpected event.

An IT disaster recovery strategy that is focused on the IT infrastructure should be in place in addition to the overall disaster recovery plan for the entire organization.

Plans for disaster recovery are only useful if they are put together well before a disaster occurs.

What Is Disaster Recovery Testing?

Disaster recovery testing is a process to ensure that a business can recover data, restore critical applications, and carry on operations in the event of a service interruption, critical IT failure, or complete disruption.

A business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR) planning process for an organization tests each step of a disaster recovery strategy.

The DR testing procedure is typically neglected by many organizations, which makes it exceedingly challenging to recover when a disruption occurs. 

What Are The Goals of DR Testing 

The disaster recovery test’s primary objective is to make sure that your DR plan is highly functional. It should adhere to the technical specifications of your company. The audit report of the DR test can be used as feedback for your company. It will assist you in enhancing your disaster recovery plan and safeguard your company from unexpected problems.

IT systems are inherently dynamic. Regular upgrades are required. They should therefore undergo regular testing. Storage devices and servers are regularly added or upgraded. You might deploy a new application that is not covered in your DR plan. So, you should run your plan through another test.

Most businesses are now moving to the cloud. This helps companies in making significant financial savings. It is safe to conclude that all businesses will migrate to the cloud at some point. You may ensure that your DR plan is updated with the IT world by running a DR test.

How Often Should You Test

Since your organization will grow and change over time—new employees are hired, the infrastructure changes, the way business is done changes, or new legislation may be implemented—your disaster recovery plans must not be static.

XO recommends testing your DR plan every six months.

Why Disaster Recovery Testing Is Important

Everyone’s worst nightmare is finding out their disaster recovery plan is useless in the midst of a disaster. Because of this, it’s essential to regularly and in advance test your DR strategy. The only way to identify and address problems with your plan is to do thorough testing.

Communication can become an issue. You’re in the midst of a situation and are having a problem, but you’re not sure who to call. Or, even worse, you have the name and phone number of the person you need to contact, but when you call, you discover that they are no longer employed by the company.

While there are many types of technical errors, missing data is one that has often been seen to thwart disaster recovery plans. Possessing all of the necessary data in one location is a necessity for a successful recovery. Given the interdependence and complexity of today’s systems, failing to recover even one important piece of data can prevent you from bringing up your production apps in your recovery environment.

DR testing is important because the recovery process depends on coordination, teamwork, and timing in addition to your recovery processes. Your storage, network, apps, databases, and other platforms must all be kept up to date.

You may believe you can accomplish it, but you must be certain that the input you provide will produce the desired outcome. The only way to determine whether that is accurate and what difficulties you could encounter is to test.

Choose The DR Test That Fits Your Business Needs

 Establish a strategy that will achieve the intended outcome while covering the areas that require testing. The following disaster readiness evaluations are used:

  • Paper test: A representative of the disaster recovery team examines and annotates the DR document, outlining the steps, roles, policies, checklists, and deadlines that are specified.
  • Simulation test: The entire company will practice the recovery procedures in this mock drill scenario.
  • Cutover test: In order to conduct all business operations solely using the backup facilities, the failover systems temporarily take over the primary system’s role.
  • Parallel test: The failover systems are evaluated in this test to see if they can perform as intended.
  • Walkthrough test: All interested parties participate in a walkthrough assessment. Participants note any problems that require modification and discuss them.

Connect With XO Experts

You may not be able to test your disaster recovery plan for a number of reasons. One among them is time. Please get in touch with us if you need assistance; we would be happy to prepare for and assist your business during the testing process.

Perhaps your company is one among the 30% of companies that don’t even have a disaster recovery strategy, let alone test it. Reach out to XO today and we’ll be happy to assist you in creating one.

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