Disaster recovery planning: Lessons learned

01 Jun 2020

Organisations across the globe have learned that hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to disaster recovery (DR) planning.

In some cases, the current situation has seen a case of survival of the fittest: Organisations with tried and tested DR plans have been able to ensure business continuity at scale in spite of the shift to a remote and distributed workforce. Meanwhile, less prepared organisations are now navigating their own set of challenges, from data compromise, revenue loss to security threats.

What history tells us is that DR planning plays a critical role in helping organisations to successfully weather crises. Whether it be a pandemic, a cyber attack or a climate emergency, having a strong DR strategy in place can make or break a business.

We’re looking at the key lessons learned about DR during these unprecedented times.

It pays to be proactive

Disaster recovery starts with a comprehensive plan that spells out the steps needed to take to ensure business continuity following a disruptive event.

As a subset of business continuity, DR captures important metrics that align with business objectives.

Without clearly defined recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, businesses have no way of ensuring acceptable recovery of critical systems when disaster strikes.

What’s also true, and what has been a major lesson for many, is that a plan is only as useful as it is executable. Whether through in-house resources or a third-party provider, testing plays a paramount role in ensuring the DR plan is fit to tackle threats and challenges as they evolve.

Today’s reality is that there are so many threats at play. What’s worse is when threats overlay, such as when cybercriminals take advantage of existing crises to amplify pressure on organisations. This is exactly what we’ve seen in past few months with the rise of ransomware.

With organisations increasing their value on data, they cannot afford to not have a tried and tested DR plan.

The alternative – revenue loss, data compromise or reputational damage, for example – could prove too expensive in the long run.

Legacy systems alone won’t cut it

As the volume and value of data increases, so too does the need to protect it.

In today’s age, large data sets combined with slow backup and long recovery windows don’t make for an ideal mix.

Legacy systems simply don’t have what it takes to deliver immediate recovery time objectives. Downtime can spread across multiple data centres across multiple locations, and recovery can range from hours to days. The fact that most legacy systems don’t perform live back ups means that if and when downtime does happen, chances are a lot of data will also be lost for good.

Adding to the expense of time are hot sites, which require high capital expenses and resources to maintain.

If there’s one thing this year has taught us, it’s that digital transformation through emerging technology adoption is essential to keeping business afloat.

Legacy systems alone cannot deliver the instant recovery and availability that organisations demand today.

Cloud is king

Time and time again, the cloud has proven to be a game changer that is here to stay.

Where legacy solutions lag, cloud makes up for by converging DR, backup and security in a single solution that enables organisations to quickly and easily recover critical data when they need to.

By leveraging cloud technology, organisations can benefit from the on-demand and pay-as-you-go options that allow for a simple, secure and cost-effective solution to DR. That’s because organisations only pay for the resources they use when testing or when a disaster occurs.

While moving to the cloud impacts an organisation’s attack surface, a properly executed migration plan offers the opportunity to implement appropriate controls to manage this.

In a world where time is precious and data is wealth, organisations need to prioritise a DR solution that combines data protection and recovery with speed and efficiency.

Integrated, hybrid cloud solutions, or DRaaS, provide the near-instant data recovery that is needed to enable business continuity in today’s fast-paced world.

At Arrow, we are passionate about delivering advanced technological solutions that afford businesses the flexibility and agility they need to ensure business continuity.

We partner with leading vendors that offer specialised technologies for best-in-breed DR solutions and help you to deliver them with our professional services capabilities.

Talk to us today to learn how we can help you deliver advanced DR solutions and ensure business continuity.