Four Steps to a Proactive Availability Approach

How to Achieve Disaster Avoidance

You shouldn’t need to scramble after a disaster strikes. For every minute of downtime, your business is losing revenue and damaging its reputation – which makes reactionary measures no longer sufficient for a company’s livelihood. For this reason, it’s best to approach disaster recovery (DR) from a perspective of “disaster avoidance.”

To make recovering IT systems a cinch, a proactive approach needs to take precedence. As part of this goal, a new term has emerged: IT Availability.

Disaster Recovery Focus

  • Invest in an “insurance policy”
  • React to downtime and events
  • Rely on backups to store data
  • Treat DR and security separately
  • Recover in hours to days
  • Emphasis on technical infrastructure
  • Develop minimal process and reporting
  • Emphasis on avoiding “catastrophes”

IT Availability Focus

  • Invest in ability to serve clients
  • Be proactive to minimize risk
  • Failover and failback to ensure service
  • Secure recovery to protect data
  • Recover in minutes to hours
  • Emphasis on serving end users
  • Process-driven and documented
  • Emphasis on continuous improvement

IT Availability recognizes the co-dependencies that business has with its technology, whereas DR views technology in a boxed perspective. When companies fall on the side of reactive attention, often there are cultural frameworks that prevent proactive resiliency. The key is to change this way of thinking.

How to Achieve a Proactive Availability Approach

The best way to set the right culture for refining and improving preparedness is to open a dialogue with stakeholders. With input from these individuals and/or business units, follow these important steps:

1. Business Impact Analysis

Identify your critical business processes and functions, then define the recovery requirements and map technology dependencies.

2. Assess Risk of Impact

Identify risk scenarios, then determine the probability and impact of each scenario.

3. Develop a Strategy

Develop plans that address each scenario to mitigate risks.

4. Test the Plan and Update

Test your strategy frequently and update it continuously.

 

“More so than disaster recovery, business continuity is all about anticipating the faults, failures, and attacks that have the potential to impact the key services. It requires a careful and comprehensive Business Impact Analysis and the accompanying operating procedures to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the service.”

—Allan Leinwand: Chief Technology Officer, ServiceNow

DRaaS Availability Lifecycle

In addition to the four steps outlined above for proactive DR, it’s essential to constantly improve your DR strategy so that it doesn’t become outdated. One way to ensure this constant improvement is with the DRaaS availability lifecycle:

Recovery Assurance Lifecycle

What the Stages Mean

Business Impact Analysis

The “Business Impact Analysis” stage takes note of how lost data and compromised applications impact overall business operations and revenue generation. Synthesizing this information, IT teams work with a DRaaS provider to tier applications into groups by order of importance.

Implementation & Onboarding

During the “Implementation and Onboarding” stage, companies select the right DRaaS solution for each tier, accounting for required service level agreements (SLAs), technology capabilities, and budget. A DRaaS provider gives advice based upon potential risk scenarios and assists in the architectural design and networking details. After the onboarding process has been completed, copies of data and applications are replicated into their chosen recovery environments for safe-keeping.

Playbook Development

In the “Playbook Development” stage, IT teams consult with the DRaaS provider to document the order of operations for recovery, customizing steps for every scenario under the sun and noting each team member’s responsibilities. The more comprehensive the better. The DRaaS provider helps map out which operations need to occur before systems are returned to end users.

DRaaS Operations

In the “DRaaS Operations” stage, the DRaaS provider focuses on the daily maintenance that ensures healthy DR environments remain healthy. This includes environment changes and resource monitoring.

DRaaS Health Management

Similarly, the “DRaaS Health Management” stage emphasizes real-time monitoring, but with a focus on security, budget and compliance settings.

Recovery Testing

Then comes the “Recovery Testing” stage. DR testing should be always on-demand and comprehensive. In some instances, tests should invoke your full IT team and DRaaS provider, and cut crucial members out to simulate a real-life scenario. Host pre- and post-event consultations to determine updates to the recovery playbook.

Recovery Event Management

The “Playbook Development,” “DRaaS Operations,” “DRaaS Health Management” and “Recovery Testing” stages repeat themselves indefinitely, until the event of a real-life disaster, at which time the recovery process is executed in the “Recovery Event Management” stage.

InterVision Recovery Assurance™

InterVision performs the DRaaS Availability Lifecycle for all of its Managed DRaaS solutions, dedicated to client confidence that recovery will work when needed most.

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