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How to Prepare a Disaster Recovery Plan

July 25, 2014

Every business investment decision comes down to risk versus reward. Given the rapid growth of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), it’s evident that risk is low and rewards – financial and functional – are significant when you outsource disaster recovery (DR) instead of doing it yourself.

The driving trends and dynamics of IT today are rendering older methods of data back-up and disaster recovery too expensive and cumbersome. The cost of buying, provisioning and maintaining secondary sites is getting harder to justify, if not already beyond that point. The business demands placed upon IT today call for agility, speed and creativity, not simply maintaining existing operations.

The caveat to reaping the benefits of DRaaS, however, is that you do your due diligence before selecting your service provider. Finding one that, first, has made its own investment in DRaaS to make it a core competence and, second, can adapt and tailor its services to your business requirements for DR are the keys to a successful partnership.

Every Disaster Recovery Plan and Disaster Recovery solution for a customer is unique to that customer (or should be). However, here are some overarching factors to look for and points to probe when assessing DRaaS providers before entrusting your business to them.

  • Disaster Recovery is a business necessity and increasingly a regulatory compliance requirement. As such, a provider should know or want to learn about your business, your back-up and recovery challenges, data and application profiles, and growth expectations. You will want to determine if the provider can achieve your Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) for your most critical data, applications and business operations.
  • Speaking of compliance, the gap between lip service and best practices is wide. Operating physical and cloud infrastructures according to compliance requirements requires a continuing commitment to staying current with the ever-increasing industry and government regulations, investment in physical plant and technology to assure compliance, and training the workforce to understand and carry out their duties accordingly. Look for providers with a portfolio of credentials, such as, among them.
  • Security and compliance usually go hand-in-hand. But don’t assume that if you have one you also have the other. Determine the scale and scope of a provider’s logical and physical security policies, programs, testing and auditing.
  • One of the biggest issues with doing your own DR is the uncertainty that the right people can be in the right place at the right time to implement your DR plan. Your best providers will have 24/7/365 technical support and skilled operations experts to fully manage server and storage recovery at all times, and to run in their environment until your primary data center returns to service.
  • Look for a provider with multiple, geographically dispersed data centers. Their data centers should be strategically placed so as not to be impacted by the same disaster, as well as to have the power, communications, networking, redundancy, staffing and security to sufficiently meet your requirements.  It’s also advisable to physically inspect at least one of the provider’s data centers.
  • Have the provider explain in detail its own testing regimens … what it tests, how it tests and how often it tests all aspect of its data center operations. While you’re at it, look to see who its infrastructure and systems vendors are; you can tell a great deal about a company by its technology partners. You want to know that it has your back all the time.

Other factors undoubtedly will come into play when assessing DRaaS providers, depending upon individual requirements. What data replication service options do they offer? How do they handle encryption? Can they accommodate hybrid cloud strategies? Do they have additional services beyond DRaaS that may serve your business well in the future?

Whichever provider you choose, look at its record of performance, the maturity of its service and its ability to tailor the right solution specific to your needs, now and in the future. In other words, look at Peak 10 for the best in DRaaS.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest