Be A Master of Disaster

Disaster recovery plans are a must have. If you’re not motivated enough by recent natural disasters, or data breaches, or anything else that’s been wreaking digital havoc in this world lately, I’m not sure what will do the trick. If you haven’t made a DR plan, I would take a few minutes to just sketch out a quick, paper napkin-style plan.  What would you do first, second, third, etc… It doesn’t have to be complete, it just has to be a plan.  Go ahead. I’ll wait…

Got it?  Good.  Now. How do you know that will work?

Plans are an important, and great first step. Much like restores, however, they don’t do you any good unless you test them.  It’s not always easy, or even practical to do so. Sometimes even testing DR plans can cause outages.

Further, we may be in the habit of constantly testing our backups, but how often do we test DR plans?  Quarterly? Yearly? I’ve been in more than one DR rehearsal where we found that major changes in other parts of the infrastructure have had catastrophic impacts on our DR processes. How often do we do documentation in the first place, let along update all the related DR documentation when a major system changes?

In my current position, if disaster struck right now, I’m confident we would be fine. But only because we recently went through several very painful DR tests that did not go as planned. Just about everything that could go wrong, did.  However, I don’t see that as a bad thing. In fact, I see it as a very positive thing. We tested, failed, adjusted the plan, tested again, repeated that process a few more times, and off we went. Now we know we have a solid DR plan.

I think that’s worth a few failures. :-)

How do you test your DR plans?

Thanks for reading.

-David.

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