This week Stephen Owen, EMEA product manager at Adaptec, runs through the basic steps for ensuring that IT disaster doesn't entail doom for your business.
Disaster recovery is one of those things that can make or break a company.
The majority of firms that suffer a disaster without a recovery plan go out of business within two years, according to research. But even the simplest check list can give you a much better chance of a happy outcome.
1. Store IT passwords in two secure and separate locations. Only one should be in the same building as your data centre. Ensure that two to three trusted employees have access to these passwords in case of emergency.
2. Ensure that you document the restoration process to get your IT infrastructure up and running again; this will enable staff to retrieve critical data immediately. Familiarise key staff with these restoration documents so that they will be able to recover the data as quickly as possible.
3. Establish a system whereby two or three trusted employees receive automated phone or text 'event notifications' of disasters. These employees should be trained to fulfill basic disaster recovery/back-up tasks in case the IT administrator is unavailable. Have an arrangement with a third-party service provider if necessary.
4. Carry out disaster simulations at least four times a year to hone your disaster recovery team's skills and to make sure your disaster recovery strategy is kept fresh.
5. Be vigilant about backing up data regularly. Implement Raid 5 or 10 as a method of data duplication for fault tolerance. Multi-path your data route to the system so that if one path fails you can still access the data.
6. Have spare hot hard disk drives already in the system or physically available next to your storage system.
7. Have a tape archive strategy. Replace tapes used on a daily basis every six to nine months with fresh ones to avoid deterioration, and replace the other tapes on a regular (although less frequent) schedule. If possible back up to a remote location.
8. Invest in the best and longest-life uninterruptible power supply you can afford, and have additional battery back-up for your cache.
9. Protect yourself from random theft, vandalism and employee malice: make sure the door to your data/server room is locked day and night.
10. Protect yourself from fire: make sure the door to the data/server room closes automatically (like a fire door), thereby prolonging the time it takes for fire and smoke damage to get into the room. Never keep the door wedged open.
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