Have You Tested Your Disaster Recovery Plan?
A recent article from Forbes that’s well-worth reading lists five major ways businesses perform poorly on IT disaster recovery. Second on the list is the failure to test disaster recovery plans.
Why is testing necessary?
Without testing the disaster recovery measures you’ve come up with for your computer systems, your plan remains mostly theoretical. On paper, it looks as if it could work, but you can’t know with a reasonable degree of certainty.
You’re not sure if your disaster recovery solutions will truly provide you with protection from lost data and give you the ability to minimize downtime. Your employees may not know what they’re supposed to do; without testing, the tasks they’re assigned to undertake could remain abstract to them.
Testing also helps you catch unforeseen difficulties or situations you didn’t expect. For instance, maybe your plan hasn’t anticipated a lack of reliable communication channels between employees in the aftermath of a disaster. You don’t want to get caught unprepared.
What are some good practices for running tests?
Whenever your IT or business environment undergoes notable changes, it’s a good idea to run a test. For example, if you switch to new kinds of software, upgrade your hardware, or add new devices to your network, it’s important to determine how these changes will affect your disaster recovery plan.
Granted, it’s not possible to frequently run full-scale tests on your entire system. You may wind up implementing changes to your IT set-up and not get a chance to conduct a full test until weeks or months later.
However, even if you can’t always run a full-scale test, there are other options. You can conduct partial tests that don’t involve your entire system; you can look at specific issues, such as whether certain critical data backups are complete and timely. You’re also encouraged to use monitoring apps that pinpoint areas of vulnerability as your system changes.
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