Disaster recovery (DR) is an essential part of business continuity, as it enables organizations to restore files and applications from a recent version in case these become compromised. An alarming study by asset management company Mercer found that 51% of businesses worldwide do not have a disaster recovery strategy in case of emergencies or disasters. Unsurprisingly, these businesses have struggled the most with the COVID-19 pandemic and the numerous resulting threats.
A DR strategy is critical to business survival, and creating one requires deep knowledge of processes, technologies, and people. However, not all DR strategies are guaranteed to work. Look for the following signs that indicate a DR strategy is bound to go south:
1. Failure to test your strategy adequately
Comprehensive and regular DR testing exposes your strategy's flaws, which you can address before they can affect your ability to restore operations. Without DR testing, you’ll never know if your recovery strategy will be successful in a real-life scenario.
DR testing should be done at least once a year. It should include evaluating your onsite devices to ensure that they can recover data within seconds, as well as testing your cloud-to-onsite location download speeds' reliability.
However, businesses may struggle to find the time and resources to test their DR plan. To solve this problem, implement backup and cloud recovery solutions that will automatically test the recoverability of applications and log important information such as actual disaster recovery time and recovery point. Partnering with a business technology specialist like SpectrumWise can also help keep your backup systems updated, ensuring rapid recovery and reduced risks.
2. Backups with inadequate protection
Some businesses fail in disaster recovery because they don’t adequately protect their backup copies from being corrupted. To keep your backups safe from malware, disconnect them from your production systems, which you can do by creating air gaps or air pockets. For data that should never be altered, it's best to use immutable storage technologies, as these are virtually impervious to malware.
Unfortunately, the reality is that you can’t always air-gap your systems and most data need to be updated constantly. To prevent your backups from getting corrupted or malware-infected, you can:
- implement solutions that can detect the early signs of malware;
- choose a Linux-based backup and recovery technology, as most malware target Windows-based systems; and
- deploy backup solutions with integrated cyclic redundancy checking (CRC), which detects errors or changes in code, thus preventing data corruption.
3. Poor media management practices
Backups must be protected not only from malware but also from mismanagement. Mishandling backup or archive media such as tapes or removable hard drives can ruin files and make them unrecoverable. And while using removable storage devices for backups doesn’t require in-depth IT knowledge, simple human errors like mislabeling disks can make data recovery impossible.
Adhere to the best practices of media management to guarantee the quality, reliability, and accuracy of your backups. You can also team up with SpectrumWise to make your processes more efficient: we can automate the management, off-site replication, and long-term retention of your backups, thus minimizing the risks caused by human error.
4. Command, control, and communication problems
Having clear lines of communication is vital in a disaster recovery situation. Unclear commands can result in different expectations about which data and systems can be recovered, how quickly, and in which order.
To prevent confusion, assign a person in charge of incident management, and make employees understand what is expected of them during a disaster recovery scenario. Also, make sure that everyone can continue to communicate during an outage or while data recovery is in progress.
5. Failure to take human factors into account
It’s critical to focus disaster recovery efforts on systems and data, but you shouldn’t forget to include your employees in the equation. After all, it’s their work that will be affected by downtime events.
A complete DR strategy includes solutions to problems such as determining where and how staff will work if the main business location is compromised, as was the case during the start of the pandemic when businesses had to immediately order employees to work from home. What technology tools might your staff need? How can you maintain clear communication lines with your team to ensure that you’re all on the same page? Having an answer to these dilemmas allows your organization to be confident even in the event of a disaster — and having high team morale is often as important as the technical aspects of a disaster recovery plan.
For efficient and reliable backup and recovery, partner with SpectrumWise. Our comprehensive approach to data security covers everything from network security audits to real-time backups. Get a FREE assessment today.