Testing Disaster Recovery Plans

disaster recovery plan testing

Even though migrating data to the cloud can be a step towards protecting critical business information, disasters and attacks are bound to continue to threaten the livelihood of enterprises. Businesses have started to take steps towards protection through the creation of disaster recovery (DR) plans. Many companies try to devise a DR plan months ahead of time to ensure that they have the right people and processes involved. Disasters, however, are seldom predictable. If your company is lucky enough to have one in place before a disaster, then waiting to see if it works is next. Manifesting a plan is one thing, ensuring it will actually work is another. Testing your DR recovery plan will validate the viability of said DR plan.

How to Test?

Various steps can be taken to test your DR recovery plan. A simple read through of the steps needed to be taken or a walkthrough to examine process flow with simulations and disaster drills can help to test the effectiveness of the plan. To create effective and efficient strategies, scenarios are manifested to be aware of the tools needed to swiftly handle the disaster. These actions, however, can put a halt to business activities. To not impede your infrastructure’s day-to-day operations, non-critical business units should be shut down while testing can be conducted. If a fully extensive test were to be employed, all operations would be completely interrupted. Every and all processes would need to be shut down, and while it is costly, this is the best way to prepare for any disaster. Fully extensive tests are the best ones because all processes can completely be put to the test in case of a disaster. Disasters can be expected to affect the entire infrastructure. Furthermore, these tests can aid in determining whether or not your enterprise will recover from a disaster or not. Disaster recovery testing and planning will test your strategy and prepare everyone on simulated scenarios. Successes and failures should be documented as well as any lessons learned during this process. At least once a year, exercises for disasters should be performed to stay updated and refreshed.

The type of DR testing conducted depends on the criticality of your business, rick tolerance, and amount of resources to run the tests. Depending on those aspects, they will steer the business in deciding how much testing and how extensive the tests will be without it becoming a hindrance. A continuity plan should be curated and reviewed frequently to ensure accuracy and correctness. The review of a DR plan should focus on security and operational requirements and technical procedures of softwares and hardwares. Hard copies and electronic copies should both be made. In the case that your system crashes or is destroyed, the electronic copy would not be accessible. For this reason, a hard copy should be in the facility. Another hard copy should be held at an off site location in case the original facility is affected by a disaster. There should be a plan as well as a backup plan for worse case scenarios.

What’s Next?

After the testing phase of your disaster recovery plan, your business can decipher what worked and what did not. Whatever did not work can be analyzed to see what can be improved or changed so that the process can be altered to do so in favor of your company. Should any of the disaster scenarios should occur, the enterprise would be prepped and ready to tackle the issue. Disasters are inevitable to happen, so having a plan that is tested and deemed to be ready for action is important to maintaining a functional and profitable business.