Best Solutions To The Top Five Disaster Recovery Mistakes

Topics: Cloud Backup | Data Archive | Offsite Tape Vaulting

Disaster recovery is one service with which you never want to trouble. However, mistakes do happen. Here are the top five disaster recovery mistakes and how to avoid them:

Disaster recovery requires planning for the unexpected: At any given moment, your enterprise could face hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, blizzards, power outages or even hacker attacks.

When calamity arrives with devastating effects, only a carefully designed and implemented disaster recovery plan will get your business back on track. Not just any check-the-box, one-size-fits-all plan will do—though they're certain out there. According to the 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, 40 percent of businesses surveyed said their DR plan didn't help much when disaster actually struck.

A Quintet of Data Management Missteps

Here are the five biggest mistakes enterprises make when devising their contingency plans—and the ways to overcome them.

Mistake #1: Going It Alone

Creating a disaster recovery strategy may fall to the IT department, but no single department can shoulder the entire burden: Recovery is an enterprise-wide responsibility. An effective DR plan must incorporate the viewpoints of frontline users, line-of-business leaders, financial managers, legal experts and others who can prioritize mission-critical applications and data. Consider working with an outside recovery partner to refine the plan. A plan based on broad input will clarify the IT and business resources you must protect.

Mistake #2: Overlooking the People Part of the Equation

DR involves your IT equipment and data, but it must also account for physical facilities, power supplies, communications—and people. You must train your employees to follow the DR plan and get your business back up and running quickly.

An effective plan will include options in case some personnel can't travel to the site. (Cross-training employees is one option.) In a worst-case scenario, you may need to bring temporary workers to an alternate location. With this in mind, create a recovery manual that includes step-by-step DR procedures (including passwords) and the location(s) of all system resources. Store these regularly updated instructions in several geographically diverse, accessible locations.

Mistake #3: Not Testing a Broad Range of Scenarios

Once you and your partner have established and communicated your DR plan, you're ready to recover—at least in theory. But the only way to know for sure if the plan will work under extreme pressure is to test it regularly under various what-if scenarios. Conducting both planned and "fire-drill" tests can help you identify and mitigate plan weaknesses while building your team's capabilities.

Mistake #4: Not Having Backup for Your Backup Plan

What if something goes terribly wrong when disaster strikes? During the 9/11 attack In New York City, for example, an unimaginable explosion took out the city's emergency command station at 7 World Trade Center. Many companies have struggled after a disaster because the disaster also ravaged their backup site(s)—or the backup files contained corrupted data or lacked the latest information.

No backup plan is foolproof; bolster yours by storing multiple backup copies using offsite tape vaulting. Building robust redundancy into your primary backup system improves the odds of a complete and prompt recovery.

Mistake #5: Considering Data Recovery a Onetime Effort.

As your business grows and regulations change, your DR plan must also evolve. Plan to revisit and update your plan at least quarterly, as well as whenever key elements change—such as major personnel moves or the addition of new IT equipment.

While there may never be a foolproof disaster recovery plan, you can certainly craft an effective one. With careful planning, regular testing and periodic revision, your recovery plan will stay a step ahead of whatever could go wrong—bringing your business back on line quickly, following even the most challenging disaster.

Iron Mountain Recommends: Flexible, Automated Server Backup

A recent Forrester Research survey reveals that 44 percent of enterprises want—or are planning—to embrace cloud backup solutions as part of their larger disaster recovery planning.

These firms want to save money and back up more frequently. However, not all cloud services can deliver an effective DR response. When you engage an experienced, proactive provider such as Iron Mountain Server Backup service, you can:

  • Create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that specifies having your environment back up and running in less than an hour—guaranteed—whether the outage is routine or the result of a widespread natural disaster.
  • Gain productivity and peace of mind by knowing that we're backing up and replicating your mission-critical resources automatically and continuously.

    · Maintain control of your remote data via Web options for data access and restoration.


Do you have questions about data management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Data Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.


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