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Disaster recovery: so basic, so difficult

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I had the fortune (or the misfortune) to test my Disaster Recovery plan the other week. Luckily we only needed to do a partial server recovery and not a full server recovery.

We all know we should have a disaster recovery plan and kit. The problem is until you have to use yours you do not realise how inadequate it can be.

As I have done in the past with this blog, here are some points to think about that you can do to make your life better when it comes to your disaster recovery.

  • Get the kits together – you do not want to be running around looking for CDs and other items when trying to do a server recovery.
  • Have at least two kits – Make sure you have one on site and another off site.
  • Check your backups – Do your backups work? Have you restored anything from the tapes?
  • Licenses – Make sure you have a copy of all your license codes in your kit.
  • Documentation – This is the bit we often lack as the day-to-day life of the job gets in the way.
  • Contact Support Partners – Your external support partners may have some readymade documentation and recommendations for your disaster recovery kit.
  • Review on a regular basis – This is a major part of the process otherwise when you come to use it you find it is out of date.

One area we often do not think about is the human element:

  • Who keeps the staff up to date with progress?
  • How will you communicate with staff if the computer systems are down?
  • While the problem is fixed is there someone who can go regularly to staff just to reassure them and keep them informed?

The interaction of IT Support Staff and rest of the staff is important both when the recovery plan is implemented and how you react afterwards. It makes a major difference to a successful recovery.

It is not rocket science, but it is hard to do. How do you keep your staff informed during your disaster recovery process and what is in your disaster recovery kit? let me know your tips and tricks.

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