One of the more critical aspects of disaster recovery planning involves the testing of relevant technologies, processes and policies, as well as the users involved, to ensure that the framework can actually work when an event takes place. Unfortunately, this is among the most overlooked aspects of continuity as well, meaning that many firms will not learn if their recovery plans are actually effective or not until a real disaster comes to pass, increasing risk in the process.
With the right disaster recovery testing, various needs that were not seen or understood in the original planning stages will come to light, giving companies the opportunity to refine their programs prior to them being necessary. When working through the testing aspects, there are certain components that should be handled with a bit more care, as these procedures should lead directly to changes and improvements that can protect the company from long-term outages and disruption.
Lessons from the government
Because governments are becoming more reliant upon digital technologies as time goes on, agencies have increased their efforts to streamline disaster recovery. State Tech Magazine recently explained some of the lessons that were garnered from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency last year, as well as how the public sector entity has improved upon its continuity and recovery skills since conducting the test.
The source pointed out that this was no small job, since more than 22 separate departments were involved that have more than 200 servers in play at any given time. First, leaders found ways to completely overhaul its existing framework, which was very much a cookie-cutter approach that did not necessarily tackle any of the actual needs of the agency through advanced change management and culture shifts.
According to the news provider, part of the overhaul involved the transformation of the ways in which the continuity and recovery technologies were being used, while testing showed that measurement of performances across systems that are used on an everyday basis was critical. Furthermore, State Tech Magazine noted that "validation" was a major step in the right direction for VITA, and the group of branches that were the focus of this strategy are now more resilient to disruption and outages.
Apply to business strategies
Companies that do not test their plans and refine them regularly will be inherently less secure and protected than those that do, and these processes do not need to take all that much time to complete so long as they are frequent. Additionally, this can be a more difficult requirement to reconcile among smaller firms with less experience in these types of matters, so working with a provider of disaster recovery support and services can go a long way toward actual performance improvements.
When testing is tight and the plan is agile enough to adjust when new risks come to pass or future technologies are deployed, businesses will be in a better position to remain successful despite what challenges arise.