Implement and Test Your Backup Recovery Plan: A Step-by-step Guide

– 5 steps to your recovery plan

Companies are increasingly being required to protect their data. Owing to the escalating threat of cyber security attacks and common network server crashes in general, the need for a stellar backup and restore plan is imperative.

Companies that use the public cloud network in particular, are exposed to theft of confidential data of their customer and employee accounts and other sensitive company information. Although efforts to effectively combat cyber attacks are always underway at pretty much every institution, having a recovery and backup plan is neither complex nor difficult.

It is for this reason that we will highlight a step-by-step guide to creating a secure backup and restore plan.

1. Know the backup infrastructure

Before you get started on your backup recovery plan, evaluating the current backup infrastructure first can help greatly. This could include your systems’ backup servers, backup media and system storage components.

The objective of this assessment should be to consider how effective the existing infrastructure is in recovering affected data amid a network security breakdown or other disasters. Secondly, there also needs to be a focus on identifying critical data from non-critical ones and the storage capacity of the components. This will help determine the extent to which critical data can be backed up using existing storage capacity.

2. Conduct capacity planning

The aim here is to understand the gap between the existing and expected storage requirements and anticipate how storage requirements will grow over the next 6 to 12 months. It will also help to know how the organization seeks to scale its existing backup infrastructure to meet this growth and how many different types and number of backup clients will it involve.

3. Evaluate user policies and procedures

In this step, the company policies, requirements, and procedures need to be reviewed to decide best practice. This includes deciding on the optimal backup schedule so that all data is backed up automatically.  This could vary from organization to organization; however, it will essentially depend on the nature of data that requires back up. For example, some companies may require a daily backup of their customer account database especially if it is being updated regularly; others however, may only need a weekly or monthly backup.

4. Identify resource needs

This step is crucial to a successful backup recovery plan. Issues relating to financial constraints, organization infrastructure constraints and personnel constraints need to be taken into account. For example, in the case of personnel constraints, a CIO needs to ask whether their number of employees is sufficient to perform a backup recover operation and whether they have the required skill-set to perform such an important task.

More importantly, infrastructure constraints could involve adding more data center resources or a backup recovery system to store files and other data. In addition, are there enough funds to accommodate for the backup recover plan upgrade requirements?

5. Test your backup and recovery plan

Once you have made the necessary actions to have a backup and recovery plan, run simulations to ensure it works well, helping you to be prepared in the wake of a real security breach or a disaster.

To test your backup recovery plan, it is important that backups on all critical data be performed and no areas or servers are excluded. Your staff also needs to be trained on how to shut down the applications and load them upon restarting.

Furthermore, the backup recovery plan should also be timed to assess the speed at which it can backup and store critical data. Knowing how responsive your backup process is can be critical in an emergency scenario.

Back up and Disaster Recovery – Five Common Mistakes

Businesses are aware of the impact that a well-crafted backup and disaster recovery plan has on their organization. These plans are critical to avoid exorbitant downtime costs and to keep businesses running smoothly.

As your business grows and with regulations changing rapidly, your disaster recovery and backup plan needs to change. While no DR plan is 100% fail-safe, with careful planning you can develop one to fit your needs. The following are five common mistakes concerning back up and disaster recovery.

  1. A Plan

In most cases, the IT department creates the DR plan; however, recovery is a companywide responsibility. Best practice is to work with an outside recovery partner for plan revisions. An effective DR plan includes business leaders, frontline users, legal, and those who order data and mission-critical applications.

  1. People

While back up disaster and recovery contains IT equipment and data, it should also include communications, facilities and people. Employees should be trained on best practices to follow within your companies DR plan to ensure your business is up and running in no time.

  1. Testing / forget to test plan regular basis

A common mistake is controlling every phase a test is performed to a set of systems. A best practice is to let management know that a test is taking place. The goal is to mimic as close to failure as possible to assure the plan is sound as if a true disaster occurred.

  1. Local back up only

In this situation businesses are comforted that their back up is local. Local backup does solve the most common of data loss, accidentally deleting a folder or file – but is susceptible to natural disasters, fire and floods.

  1. No contingency plan

It is a good practice to have multiple plans in case what can go wrong. To assume everything will go as you planned for backup and DR, is a big mistake. Be sure to document a process that includes what should be done if the person responsible is unavailable. Share your plan with your IT provider as well as getting an outside opinion.

It is likely that any change to your business or IT systems will directly impact your back up and disaster recovery plan. Test your plan on a regular basis and review the results from the test. Be sure to update your DR plan based on the results of your test.