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The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan

Posted by Michael Lupacchino on Thu, Aug 19, 2010

You insure your car, your house, even your pet. These measures are taken to protect your valuables from disaster. With data, not only do you have to have it insured (backed up using tapes, hard drives, cloud servers, etc), but you also need to have a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place that has been tested for reliability to assist your organization should a disaster occur.

Disaster Recovery Plan

What would it be like if your ecommerce organization’s website crashed for four days? Sounds horrifying right? Well, recently American Eagle® Outfitters experienced a system failure that lasted an unprecedented four days (followed by an additional four days of technical glitches).

An article from CIO Magazine recounted that American Eagle’s website went down when “atypical and concurrent failures [occurred] with IBM’s hosting servers and back up plans as well as with Oracle’s Data Guard utility program.”  I’m not saying that websites don’t have their occasional hiccups, but four days is a massive detriment for a company whose ecommerce site is a large part of their business model.

The article quoted Brian Walker, a Forrester Research principal analyst urging other organizations to look at American Eagle as an example. “Get your responsibilities, processes and systems together now, test them, and correct as needed.  Having a clear plan in and of itself will pay huge dividends in the event something happens.”

Senior Help Desk Associate at NSK Inc, Alex Straffin echoes the same sentiments. “Any type of Disaster Recovery plan needs to be tested in every way possible BEFORE the disaster actually occurs.” Many clients utilize NSK’s Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution that is managed by NSK.  “We virtualize all of those clients’ servers off-hours for assurance as part of our ongoing BDR model,” says Straffin.

Straffin also notes:

DR plans are becoming more necessary as electronic business and ecommerce continue to expand. This is especially important if your site does not have any failover or redundant server configurations, and you are running high dollar, enterprise level ecommerce websites. A good DR plan will also include periodic verifications to assure that over time, your overall disaster recovery plan remains valid and ready to be put into action if needed.

The Bottom Line

As they say in the Scouts “Always Be Prepared.” Have a DR plan in place, that has been thoroughly tested, so should a disaster strike (knock on wood), you will know exactly what to do to reduce or eliminate downtime.

Tags: Disaster Recovery, Managed Services

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