The Ultimate Disaster Recovery Checklist

How to keep you head amidst an IT disaster (in 6 easy steps)

When it comes to data backup and disaster recovery (BDR), being prepared for a potential disaster is vital to keeping your business up and running. But in order to establish a disaster recovery solution you can trust, you must test it regularly and be ready to use it.

Pre-disaster planning

Prior to a disaster ever occurring, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much data can I afford to lose?
  • How long could my business afford to be down for? (Is it 1 hour? 1 day?)

By ascertaining the parameters of your company’s BDR needs, you can begin planning the appropriate solution. If the loss of a day’s work can be easily absorbed by your business, then a nightly backup tape may provide adequate protection. But if two hours’ lost data translates into thousands of pounds of lost revenue for your organisation, a real-time backup solution may be justifiable.

Disaster recovery checklist

Once the planning is done, let’s hope you never have cause to invoke your BDR solution. But, with disaster recovery, it’s generally a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. So keep the following DR checklist to hand for the day the worst happens.

1. Assess the problem and its impact on your business

Every disaster is different. So before doing anything, ensure you understand the underlying issue and how it is affecting you. Does the problem appear to be localised on one specific machine or is it affecting your entire network? Have you lost data due to files being deleted or are they inaccessible due to servers or workstations being down?

2. Establish your recovery goals

Recovery is what makes a BDR solution different from a simple backup product. So what will be your road to recovery? Do you need to restore your entire system, your data or both? You will already have spent time identifying your critical systems and prioritising these recovery tasks, so you should have an idea of how long this recovery will take. This preparation will enable you to set staff and client expectations with a clear head.

3. Select the appropriate recovery type(s)

Consider which approach will get you to your end goal the fastest – file restore, local virtualisation or offsite virtualisation. Contact Wem on 020 8740 6000 should you have any questions.

4. Verify the recovery and confirm functionality with users

Once a system recovery has been performed, thorough testing is essential to ensure that full functionality has been restored. After a prolonged period of downtime, emotions may still be running high, so failing to check whether users are able to access all required resources and applications, could make matters worse!

5. Restore the original system(s), if needed

If the original systems also need to be restored, decide upon the most appropriate restoration process – bare metal or virtual machine restore.

6. Self-assess afterwards

Once the dust has settled, ask yourself what went well and what could have gone better. Maybe certain aspects of your disaster recovery process need to be amended for the next time.

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