A Guide to Disaster Recovery
How do disaster recovery and business continuity work together, and why are they essential for organizations?
What is Disaster Recovery?
The term disaster recovery (DR) refers to the tools, services, and planning that help protect an organization from a natural or human-made disaster. Disasters that cause unplanned downtime for your company can include everything from weather-related events such as fires, floods, and extreme snow to earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes.
Your business could take a hit with an unexpected loss of power, hardware failure, software bug, corrupted data, admin error, or an act of cybercrime like hacking or ransomware. Or you might find yourself forced to close for a time due to a pandemic.
Disaster Recovery Services
A typical organization depends on many different technologies to run its business and each can easily be impacted by disasters. Disaster recovery planning includes all of the work done to assess your company’s readiness to withstand such a disruption or crisis. DR planning can consist of data backups, failover and failback processes, high availability protocols, and data protection, data loss avoidance solutions. And yes, it is considered vital in today’s volatile global marketplace.
DR planning includes the development of a targeted strategy to protect your business in the event of a disaster. According to TechTarget, “having a disaster recovery strategy in place enables an organization to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions following a disruption.”
93% of companies without DR are out of business within a year.*
DR Plans include provisions for the protection of IT and network data, as well as the steps needed to ensure business resumes as quickly as possible. Organizations often choose secure, off-site data center locations and/or the cloud to store data and data backups as part of a DR strategy.
Business continuity describes your company’s ability to continue its essential operations during and after a crisis. Business continuity planning can include business impact analysis, equipment, mission-critical functions, creation of recovery strategies, plan development, and regular plan testing and updating.
Your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) should direct your company's response to the initial crisis, address provisions for safeguarding your data, network and staff, and outline what steps you need to take to quickly resume business operations.
Your BR plan covers the steps to resume business activity, or restore your business entirely, after a crisis. It focuses on preventative measures and the actions needed to resume business activities after the disaster.
In some BR planning, companies identify temporary work locations for staging business resumption until corporate headquarters and other offices or plants can reopen. Business Resumption Centers (BRC) allow you to resume operations quickly in a safe location. Many BRCs allow you to configure the space into the functionality you need, from private office space to command centers.
Data centers and co-location facilities can be used to get your data off premise to a secondary site that houses IT equipment, store data, and provide supplemental IT staffing expertise. Many organizations use data centers and co-location services as a cost-effective alternative to building and maintaining their own data centers.
With co-location, your company can house your servers and networking equipment in a third-party data center that offers customized cabinet and cage solutions in a temperature-controlled space with highly redundant and resilient power supply.
Co-location data centers can also provide contracted IT experts to monitor and troubleshoot issues.
Data centers and co-location facilities often house the backups of an organization’s critical data and can be used during and after a crisis to ensure business continuity and resumption. Some data centers and co-location facilities are designed as service delivery centers and high availability business centers for use as temporary workspace during and after a disaster.
You can find Quest’s 24/7 secure high available flagship sites in California and our network of co-location data centers across North America and around the world.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a cost-effective alternative to building and maintaining off-site infrastructure for disaster recovery. The best DRaaS solutions allow you to achieve RTO/RPO of less than 15 minutes, regardless of the storage, applications or operating systems you use and will offer this for either VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V environments.
DRaaS provides fast, secure, cloud-based disaster recovery in times of disruption or disaster. Your data is kept safe and secure in the cloud using advanced, image-based VM replication and a virtual cloud host for disaster recovery with CPU, RAM, storage, and networking resource allocation.
*National Archives & Records Administration in Washington
Disaster Recovery Workshops
Quest’s workshops and assessments provide you with the opportunity to work closely with our certified IT experts to outline concerns, review and assess current plans or create new plans, and get intelligent recommendations—tailored to your organization’s needs.
These workshops and assessments can be conducted onsite at your location, virtually, or at Quest’s headquarters in Roseville, CA.
For some organizations, working with an expert in disaster recovery and business continuity provides a starting point in the planning process. For others, bringing in Disaster Recovery specialists helps identify technical and business process gaps and define stakeholders, recovery teams, and the processes and functionalities needed for operation.
DR Workshops can include a test and review of your existing DR plan with customized recommendations or the development of a new DR plan that meets your company’s current requirements. DR specialists will help you define expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective, establish acceptable downtime, and make recommendations that address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards.
Whether you are starting from scratch or looking for an expert opinion on your existing plan, disaster recovery specialists can help so that your company can be dynamic, responsive, and recoverable after disaster strikes.
Working with a BC expert offers insights into your Business Continuity Plan, whether you are revisiting an existing plan or starting to build one from scratch. BC experts can help you determine the scope and breadth of your BCP and identify primary business areas and connected dependencies.
Consultants can work with your team to build a strategic BCP that meets your company’s specific needs:
- Start or enhance your strategy and emergency procedures
- Form nimble recovery teams
- Develop a communications plan to alert key stakeholder groups
- Identify key business processes
- Reconcile potential employee displacement
- Plan for maintenance and testing
- Create an active command center
- Meet regulatory requirements
- Prioritize and protect critical business processes that keep your business operating
Disaster Recovery Case Study
When Joe Peyton, Assistant Vice President of IT Operations at Redwood Credit Union (RCU), in California, got a distressing phone call from his CIO in the early morning hours, he learned that wildfires were threatening RCU’s headquarters.
Peyton sprang into action and made critical decisions based on the Disaster Recovery and Business Resumption Plans that Quest helped put in place.
Peyton’s firsthand experience with a disaster has since caused him to regard BC/DR as a core component of everything RCU does.