How to Evaluate your Disaster Recovery Plan

Evaluating your disaster recovery plan

To ensure the protection of your critical data, applications, and the continuous availability of your network, you must look at scalability, testing, and risk impact of your current disaster recovery plan:

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Scalability: Not every disaster happens on a large scale. In fact, more than 50% of system failures are attributed to localized power outages or IT failures1 – Not a major disaster. To ensure a wide net of protection, your disaster recovery plan needs to account for disasters of varying scales.

Testing: Your infrastructure as well as threats to your infrastructure will continue to evolve at a lightening pace.  This is why testing – both planned and surprised – needs to take place on a routine basis. While this may initially seem to put a drain on internal resources, think of every test as an opportunity to discover, strengthen and eliminate weaknesses.

With this in mind, your disaster testing should:

  •     Occur once every six months – at minimum
  •     Encompass your entire infrastructure, including data and application stored off-site
  •     Offer insights for updates and enhancements

Risk Impact Analysis: As your business grows, evolves and changes, so will the risks as well as the impact of those risks. For this reason, it is advisable to create a risk impact analysis report, one that you will update every time you conduct your business continuity tests.

Remember, risk analysis should include calculating the actual costs of downtime:

  •     Loss of sales orders
  •     Impact on invoicing and reduced cash flow
  •     Negative impact on the quality of customer service
  •     Missed deadlines
  •     Idle or unproductive employees
  •     Need for additional human resources

Author: Victor Janulaitis

M. Victor Janulaitis is the CEO of Janco Associates. He has taught at the USC Graduate School of Business, been a guest lecturer at the UCLA's Anderson School of Business, a Graduate School at Harvard University, and several other universities in various programs.