Your business needs to be prepared when it comes to recovering your most critical data and applications. In the event of a natural disaster, hardware failure, or other event that impacts business data, you need to get up and running as quickly as possible. We’ve put together a helpful checklist so you can ensure your data recovery and business continuity plans will work when you need them most.
Before you can create an effective disaster recovery and data management plan <link to importance of disaster recovery for enterprises when published>, you need to understand the exact data that you want to protect and backup. Audit all of the data that your business and customers generate so you can understand the size and complexity of data recovery. Don’t forget to cover all your important IT environments — live, development, testing, staging, and any others that are relevant. Make sure you audit data wherever it is stored — locally and in the cloud.
You need context for your data is you want to create a proper disaster recovery plan. For each dataset you want to backup, understand where and how that data is used, and the applications and processes that interact with or rely on it. Use business analysts and application owners to help define the business and application usage of all your data sets and map out interdependencies between your IT, data, and business elements.
Once you understand how data is used, you can sort your data sets and elements of data according to how important and urgent they are for business operations. You should prioritize data that has a direct impact on supporting customers or on the financial wellbeing of your business. Involve business stakeholders in prioritizing data for backup, management, and recovery.
Look through all of your data sets by priority and ensure that they are all being properly backed up. Work out an appropriate backup frequency for all identified data, and establish the best type of backup. You have a few options here — complete backups, iterative backups, and snapshot imaging to start with. Work with business analysts to create a backup regime that minimizes the impact of unexpected data loss.
Once you’ve started backing up data, it’s important to validate your backed up data sets for validity and restoration. Choose various data sets and recover them into different environments, then check that the data recovery has worked properly.
Backing up your data is only half of a business continuity plan. Work with business owners to develop effective data recovery processes and procedures that restore the highest priority, most business critical elements first. Once you’ve established recovery procedures, test them out, on a case-by-case basis.
Limited recovery tests by themselves won’t be enough to prove your disaster recovery and data management plans. You should run complete, periodic disaster recovery and restoration drills so you can resolve any issues if you need to do a live recovery.
Businesses, data, and applications don’t stand still, and neither should your disaster recovery plan. As your business expands and IT needs change, build a disaster recovery review process into your project plans and operational procedures. Make sure you repeat the steps in this checklist on a regular basis to keep your disaster recovery and data management plans current and relevant.
This checklist will help you to create or refine your data recovery, backup, and management plans. Use it to create robust backup procedures that will minimize business downtime and any other impacts.