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Disaster Recovery: Part 1

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011

Recovering from a disaster (whether it be natural or otherwise) can be a daunting task when it comes to a computer network. Disaster recovery is a type of "battle plan" that defines how you will return your network to an operational state. This is an important step in ensuring system security.

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    Disaster Recovery Planning

    Disaster recovery planning is an important part of network management. From a security perspective it's essential to the survival of your business. There are many things to consider and countless scenarios to plan for; situations where the worst may come true. Disaster recovery planning will help you prepare for these worst-case scenarios so that you have a clearly defined action plan in the event of a disaster.

    So what constitutes a disaster? Beyond the obvious "natural disasters" how you define a disaster is very subjective. It may be different from one business to another depending upon such factors as your business size, the type of business you are running, and your customer support model. In general, a disaster should be considered a catastrophic event that brings normal business operations to a screeching halt. In other words, an event that could take hours or days to recover from. The spirit behind the disaster recovery plan is to find a way to make those days turn into hours and those hours turn into minutes.

    Every possible scenario should be explored when formulating your plan. Mother nature has a way of taking us by surprise but you usually know what you're going to get. Power failures, flooding, potential fires caused by lightning, etc. Recovering from larger forces such as tornadoes and hurricanes is almost a moot point as much of the hardware would not only be damaged beyond repair but possibly no longer in the same neighborhood! Hopefully, your building will have backup generators, be properly insulated, and employ the proper fire prevention systems. These should save you from any major damage due to power failures, flooding, or fires. However, should such unforunate events occur, your disaster recovery plan should include contingencies for these events as well.

    Unnatural disasters such as drive failures, server system board failures, virus infections, etc. should be part of the plan as well. As stated before, every possible scenario should be researched and analyzed. The idea is to formulate a plan that is easy to follow but complete and thorough in addressing each step towards recovery. Once the plan has been formalized and put in writing, disaster recovery exercises should be scheduled so that practice runs can be made as a way to "role play" through the recovery process. It's during these practice runs that you will discover areas where the plan can be modified and improved. Next up: What DR Means for the SMB.

Disaster Recovery

Recovering from a disaster (whether it be natural or otherwise) can be a daunting task when it comes to a computer network. Disaster recovery is a type of "battle plan" that defines how you will return your network to an operational state. This is an important step in ensuring system security.
  1. Disaster Recovery: Part 1
  2. Disaster Recovery: Part 2
  3. Disaster Recovery: Part 3