How will your disaster recovery story end?

Russ Levanway, CEO, Tektegrity

Earthquake. Fire. A car through the front window of your business. A leak from a burst pipe left to run all weekend. You never know when or how disaster will strike. But, as a business owner, you’d better know what you’ll do about it.

Minimizing downtime and financial losses and preventing data loss are things better planned for than regretted. As you think about your resolutions for 2015, add “Disaster Recovery Plan” to your business resolutions list.   This month and next, we’ll discuss how to protect and recover your key technology systems in the event of a serious data loss incident.

What outcomes do you aim for?

If disaster strikes TekTegrity, we want to survive and absorb any losses without extreme difficulty. We want our staff back at work as soon as possible. We want our clients to know what’s up and what to expect. We want our data uncompromised. We want our sanity intact. We want a story of survival and triumph when it’s over, not a sad tale of woe.

What do you protect?

The IT systems that keep your business running may not be equally important in the event of a disaster.  A business impact analysis will identify your most important systems. For example, TekTegrity relies on our website for our public presence, but we can still serve our clients without it for a few days.  On the other hand, our remote client management systems are must-haves for remote support and monitoring of client IT systems. Our internal systems including email, data files, financial applications, and management platforms are all essential. How about your business?  Is an e-commerce web site responsible for most or all of your revenue?  Which other systems are imperative?

What are Recovery Points and Recovery Time Objectives?

Once you have determined which systems you need to protect and recover, it’s time to think about Recovery Point Objectives and Recovery Time Objectives.  These terms refer to how frequently your backup is performed prior to a disaster (RPO), and how quickly you can get your systems back up and running post-disaster (RTO).

For example, if you make backups every 24 hours, a disaster incident near the end of your work day could mean losing a full day’s worth of work. Are you willing and able to recreate all your activity since the last recovery point as you’re trying to make up for the time lost during a crisis? It might be time to review and adjust your Recovery Point Objectives.

There are two important questions regarding Recovery Time Objectives. How long can you go without providing services to your customers? How long can you go before you encounter serious financial impact? The ability to meet your RTOs is affected by the location of your data, availability of your recovery equipment and team, and methods to access to your data and hardware. It’s a good time to think about what physical, telecom and human resources will be available in challenging situations, and how long it could take to coordinate them.

But wait, that’s not all!

These are just a few of the factors we use to help clients plan for disaster recovery. Next month, we’ll discuss ways to secure your data and review some technology do’s and don’ts to help you pull your disaster recovery plan together.

Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit www.tektegrity.com.