Disaster Recovery Plan - Cover-All Managed IT Services

How to prepare your business systems for a disaster

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. Managing and securing access to data has become the cornerstone of all businesses, improving efficiencies and effectiveness, and enabling businesses to achieve greater profitability. However, our dependency on this data to run our businesses has increased the risk of failure should those systems be compromised or become unavailable. Technology is becoming increasingly complex, risk of failures, cyber-attacks, ransom ware, fires, floods and other natural disasters can affect the stability of business systems.

Disaster Recovery Plans have become a critical component of risk management in organizations large and small.  There are a number of available solutions enabling companies to put a plan in place to recover critical workloads in the event that their production IT environment becomes unavailable. The importance or criticality of the workload will dictate which DR option a business chooses to employ.

A Business Impact Assessment (BIA) helps a company identify the importance of a component, application, or system in sustaining a business process.  The BIA drives the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the duration of time within which a business process must be restored after a disaster.  BIA also drives the Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which is the maximum acceptable amount of data loss measured in time.  These factors all help a business determine which of the DR backup options are required to get their operations up and running in the event of a disaster.

High Availability (HA):  Sometimes referred to as “hot-site”.  If a company has determined there is a requirement for HA it is likely that the application or system running in the environment is “mission critical”.  An HA configured infrastructure is continuously operational and availability can be measured relative to being “100% operational”.  If this is a requirement then the RTO and RPO will be near zero.  This DR model requires that the hardware environment be dedicated to one business and mirrored between two data centres.  Mirroring requires the data be replicated between the production environment and the secondary system.  Replication software and a circuit to support the replication is required as part of this solution.

Warm Site:  This solution requires that dedicated hardware be located at a second data centre location.  The hardware can be a mirror image or a subset of the production environment.  This solution is common for applications and systems with a RTO and RPO greater than zero.  In this case hardware is often a subset of production, and replication software is not required.  The servers and storage will always be running and ready to restore applications in a disaster environment.

Cold Site or Subscription DR:  In this model, clients subscribe to a shared pool of resources, at a secondary data centre, that are issued to subscribers on a first come, first serve basis.  Cold site subscribers most often have a 24 hour RTO and RPO to upwards of one week for their applications and systems, and usually restore their environment from tape.  In this case, dedicated replication circuits are not part of the solution, and the hardware is not dedicated to a specific client.

Back-up as a Service (BaaS): 

BaaS is not the same as disaster recovery services, it is designed to allow businesses to back up their data to a secondary location, usually a secure data centre.  Access to the data is through secure VPN connection.  Depending on the backup requirements, the data could be restored to servers either at the same location or another location. 

As data becomes an ever important part of business operations, the need for a DR Plan becomes increasingly integral to business success.  Choosing the right solution for your particular business need is a critical component of strategic planning. 

Contact Cover-All to discuss your disaster recovery planning needs at 1-833-COVER88.