Long-term considerations for DR strategies

Disaster recovery best practices have evolved significantly in the past few years, driven by the rapid transformation of business technologies, risk and the globalization of economic competition. Not so long ago, some industries were a bit less reliant upon digital technologies than others, but this has changed significantly in the past few years. Now, every industry from agriculture and education to health care and beyond is more comprehensively technology-centric. 

This means that every organization needs to develop and maintain strong IT-related continuity and disaster recovery strategies, as outages will be more disastrous as companies begin to leverage a wider range of technologies. One of the more common issues that many leaders struggle with in this regard is testing, which studies have shown to be a rarity among organizations today. Businesses must be diligent in their assessments and refinements of DR plans, and should strive to avoid some of the more popular errors that render the processes less effective. 

Getting it right
The National Institute of Standards and Technology provided a thorough rundown of what needs to happen to properly test and refine DR plans today, as well as which mistakes tend to be the most common among firms that currently participate in these activities. According to the agency, leaders should designate employees to handle testing matters, creating teams that will champion efforts and keep the strategies moving in the right direction over time. 

DR testing teams should be established and supported. DR testing teams should be established and supported.

The source suggested planning when testing will take place and ensuring all employees involved on the team are available to participate, then work to ensure that technical matters involved are managed by individuals with plenty of experience. Because some small businesses will not have large IT departments nor plenty of professionals on hand that have experience in these matters, managed services will often be a strong option to ensure proper testing. 

In terms of the mistakes most commonly made during these procedures, NIST argued that poor record-keeping of test-related activities will stifle the success of these ventures, as it will be more difficult to avoid re-work. What's more, the news provider suggested that companies not fail to properly coordinate internal tests with IT service providers, as disruption can be caused in these situations. 

Experience needed
Small-business owners will often make the fatal error of trying to do too much on their own, not understanding how technical DR and continuity planning have become. This will almost always lead to lost finances, as improper management of technologies will rarely yield returns on investment. It will also leave the company far more susceptible to disruption and outages, which can be devastating from the perspectives of brand reputation and profit margins. 

Working with a managed service provider that specializes in small business DR and continuity needs will almost always be a safer, more productive and financially advantageous path forward for entrepreneurs. Deployments, maintenance, optimization and testing will be handled by seasoned professionals, leading to stronger performances when disasters come to pass.