A disaster recovery plan is essential for the survival of your business. Of course backup software is used to back up but is useless if it cannot also help you recover what was lost. Companies quite often focus on recovering only the data without realising that, more importantly in a disaster, that systems running and generating the data need to be recovered as well – a true disaster recovery (DR) scenario. By using the right backup software, you can gain valuable insights and make useful improvements when testing the DR plan.
Verify appropriate Recovery Point Objectives
Schedule backups of your critical data and systems to take place on a regular basis. The pertinent question here is: What is my Recovery Point Objective? Once the RPO has been decided, when testing your DR plan, the right backup software will allow you to recover with minimal work lost between the last backup and the time of recovery.
Make sure you reach your Recovery Time Objective
In addition to the RPO, also take a look at how quickly you’ll need to recover. The Recovery Time Object (RTO) is informed by the level of availability required by your business processes. If IT systems cannot accommodate this because a recovery takes too long, your RTO could be too high or you might be using the wrong backup software.
Get a bird’s-eye view of unprotected data
Ideally you’d want all critical files, databases and systems to be backed up. By running through a simulated DR scenario and recovering the planned data, you’ll be able to see whether your business-critical environments are able to resume. When certain systems fail to start up or some applications are unable to run, use this information to expand the data set that gets protected by the backup software.
Measure network performance during data recovery
Valuable telemetry can and should be gathered during a DR test. Your backup software can be instrumental in indicating what the data usage and consequently network load will be for different users and systems during recovery. With some clever reporting, a sophisticated backup solution can also be interrogated to reveal which backup servers are being overloaded or if any are underutilised. In a distributed environment or multi-national corporation, more time-relevant and jurisdictional requirements can be assessed to ensure optimal data protection is being achieved.
Compare cloud-based recovery to local recovery
In today’s world of virtualised environments, recovering lost systems has become almost instant. An entire system, with operating system files and settings, application data, and even hardware settings, can now be “backed up” as it were by using CDP (Continuous Data Protection) software. According to ComputerWeekly, when used with an appropriate hypervisor, even cross-dependent systems with, say, a database on one machine and the application on another, can be recovered successfully. This kind of backup software bridges the gap with these types of systems being restored out of sync by more traditional backup software.