Disaster data recovery: Bouncing back from an IT catastrophe

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In the digital age, information and data are assets that have immense value. As such, it needs to be protected at all costs. Companies use servers to store their sensitive information. It is the backbone of the Information Technology aspect of a business.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How your company handles data is an intrinsic part of your business’ growth strategy. The success or failure of your company will hinge on how well you organize and keep your data. Servers will contain both the external data your company uses (the data needed by your sales department, for example) and its internal assets (sensitive documents, your financials, private product information). As part of your strategy, you need to check on the security of your servers and ensure that it is protected not only from external and internal security breaches but have the redundancy and safeguards in place in case a disaster happens.


When Disaster Strikes

Your data is sensitive and you need to account for different incidents that could compromise its safety. We all know about the proliferation of external cybersecurity threats. These are attacks on your servers that come from malicious actors from outside your organization. This is probably the most common factor that is mentioned when talking about data security. But there are also man-made disasters that still have an equally devastating effect on your organization. A data disaster can result in the loss of important data—for example, files and documents—and this can have a tremendous negative effect on the organization especially if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Some of the most common causes of data disasters include:

Hardware failure

Generally, companies or businesses will use a server to act as the central storage or hub for all of the files and documents. These servers are accessed by all of the members of the organization, with varying levels of access. Servers are physical pieces of equipment, and even if you take care of this equipment and ensure that you take care of it and regularly maintain it, sometimes it could still malfunction. The most devastating malfunctions can result in data being partially or completely wiped. If you don’t have a backup then you are in trouble.

Human mistakes

Electronic equipment is not infallible. They can bog down or malfunction. Having said that, if a machine can malfunction or commit errors, then what more human beings? We as humans are not perfect. We can make mistakes and sometimes errors committed by employees (a wrong keystroke, accidentally pressing a button) can result in data being erased.

Software glitches

While physical equipment could malfunction and result in files getting deleted and lost forever, so too could software. Errors in programs or applications used in your server could result in data being erased. Viruses can also be categorized as a situation that could result in software glitches that result in catastrophic outcomes for your data.

Security issues

As mentioned above, security threats are a major concern for your sensitive data. These disasters can range from a cyber attack to compromise your data or it can happen in the form of actual physical theft. Because storage is now compact, it’s easy for a thief to just get a hard drive and walk away with it.

Acts of God

Natural disasters can happen at any time and this could impact your data. For example, a fire in your office building or massive flooding for offices that are located on the ground floor can destroy your servers and your data if it’s not backed up. The recent collapse of a condominium building in Miami, Florida is an example of a disaster that can affect your business if it happens in a building where you’ve located your office.


Data recovery planning

The disasters mentioned above are all very real dangers that can result in catastrophic data loss if you have not implemented a plan to protect your sensitive files. This is why you need to be proactive about making sure that you protect your data. Having backups of your files is a non-negotiable step in any business. But data backups are only a small step towards true resilience when you are faced with a data disaster. For those who want to ensure business continuity, a disaster recovery plan is imperative.

A Disaster Recovery Plan—also called a DRP— is a set of protocols that have been formulated to ensure that an organization will be able to ably react to various kinds of disaster scenarios and ensure that business processes continue to run with minimal downtime and losses.

A good DRP will have a set of both responsive and preventative protocols in place..

Responsive protocols

The DRP’s responsive protocols should include a list of the envisioned disaster situations, with each one accompanied by a set of responses that are designed to lessen the negative impacts of such a scenario.

Preventive protocols

The preventive protocols of the DRP, on the other hand, contain a plan to implement policies and steps to avoid the occurrence of the disaster scenarios outlined in the responsive protocols.

If an organization wants to ensure that its Business Continuity Plan will succeed, more specifically, its Disaster Recovery Plan, it should be able to provide both internal resources and vendor-supported solutions. A well-thought-out mix of both of these elements will ensure success. Of course, this will be dependent on the organization’s recovery goals, which is often measured through Recovery Time Objective (the general amount of time a business can operate without a system) and Recovery Point Objective (the age of the data that will be available once the system has become operational).

These are crucial factors that need to be discussed thoroughly by the stakeholders and decision-makers in the organization. Using a third-party solutions provider will definitely be of tremendous help in establishing this plan because these providers can inject their specific skills, experience, and know-how in guiding the formulation of the DRP.An organization should be serious about its data recovery plan to ensure that its business continuity will be assured even when faced with a disaster.

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