Did You Know…? 64-70% of businesses that have major fires never recover. The primary reason for failure is the loss of vital business records. One of the most important roles undertaken by a Systems Administrator is that of backup and recovery of backed-up information, another important task is their ability to recover from a disaster.
Unfortunately, backups and recovery only represent a small part of the tasks of the systems administrator concerning preserving system availability. Another major factor in maintaining the availability of the system is disaster recovery planning.
We cannot prevent disasters from happening and we cannot control the type of disaster – it may simply be a user who has accidentally deleted files through to a fire in the computer room. We know that we face disasters, and disaster recovery is a major part of reducing those risks to an acceptable level. It is possible to take steps to minimise the risk by installing fire protection equipment, etc. but this will rarely reduce it to an acceptable level. For instance, it may reduce the chances of losing the data to fire but, you could still lose the data to theft.
Most organisations will have a hardware and software maintenance contracts in place. Software contracts will cover you for new versions of the operating system and bug fixes to the present. Hardware maintenance contracts will cover any failures of the hardware and subsequent new parts. Your insurance policies will cover you for loss or damage to the computer equipment.
What none of these will cover you for, is the use of equipment whilst yours is being repaired or replaced. In some instances, repair and replacement of the computer equipment can take a considerable period – especially in the case of a total loss. In such circumstances, the organisation can go out of business before the equipment has been delivered.
The subject of Disaster Recovery is designed to plug the gap between the provision of such insurance and contracts and the needs of your business.
Don’t forget 90% of disaster recovery planning involves backups, and that backups are the only way that you can protect your data – you must backup regularly. Please bear in mind that backups cannot be undertaken piecemeal – make it someone’s responsibility on their job description or else it just won’t happen.
Equally as important as taking backups is to regularly test those backups – a backup is only as good as its test – you must always test a backup.