Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Essentials to business disaster preparedness — #5: Test your plan and review it often

Why Test your Business Continuity Plan Frequently?

Business continuity plans aren’t worth a whole lot if they don’t work. And you cannot know whether or not they work unless you test them.

So that’s my fifth step toward business disaster preparedness: Test your plan — often.

Testing your plan frequently is essential. Change has a way of sneaking up on organizations, and those changes can disrupt your carefully laid plan to overcome disruptions. Fortunately, the right service provider will include regular testing in the price of your service.

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Essentials to business disaster preparedness — #4: Pinpoint the most cost-effective disruption recovery solutions

Cost Effective Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Solutions

Okay, so your data is properly backed up, you’re monitoring its use, you’re developing a plan to protect your business and recover as quickly as possible from events beyond your control.

Now, in conjunction with your planning efforts, you need to pinpoint and then implement the most cost-effective disruption recovery solutions necessary to sustain business-critical operations when your systems and networks are down and/or when your office is unusable. This entails a three-step process that requires business continuity/disaster recovery expertise:

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Survey says — cloud, mobility, and virtualization improve disaster preparedness

Role of Cloud Computing, Virtualization and Mobility in Disaster Recovery Planning

The other day, I came across the results of a recent Symantec survey of small and midsize businesses examining the effects of virtualization, cloud computing, and mobility on disaster preparedness.

I was heartened to see results showing that more than a third of these smaller and midsize business decision-makers took disaster preparedness into account when deciding how they’d venture into virtualization, mobility, and the cloud.

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Getting the Best Technology Solutions

For 30 years, we at Quest have been listening to our customers, understanding their unique needs, and working with them to deliver the technology capabilities their businesses rely on.

Chief among the many things we’ve learned is this: The best technology solutions combine the cost advantages of mass-produced commodity products and services with customized design, configuration, and integration — and this combo should be provided by skilled, experienced technology specialists who have taken the time to study and understand the particular capability needs of a customer’s business.

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Data backup/recovery best practice #10

This last of my backup/recovery best practices is far from the least of them:

#10 Conduct regular testing and reviews of your data recovery capabilities

Backups can be corrupted (especially if they’re tape-based) and too often backups are performed incorrectly. Key files, directories, or components may have been excluded, especially if your infrastructure has undergone adds or deletes.

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Data backup/recovery best practices #6, #7, #8, and #9

Continuing with my views of backup/recovery best practices, I offer up # 6 through #9:

#6 Back up your data locally as well as remotely.

Data restores usually are faster from a local backup source than a remote one, especially for data that you recover frequently.

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Data backup/recovery best practices #3, #4, and #5

Last time, I described the first two backup/recovery best practices. Here are the next three:

#3 Make sure your backup/recovery strategy adheres to all governance and compliance rules that apply to your organization.

Rules abound about data privacy, security, retention — and vary by industry and region. Look for a reputable advisor who has the experience needed to understand your compliance environment and who successfully completes SAS-70 Type II audits.

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Backup/recovery best practices #1 and #2

As I see it, there are 10 best practices that can make the difference between backups that really do keep you in business and backups that seem to work okay — until you actually try to use them. Here are the first two:

#1 Understand your data so you can decide what needs to be backed up and how often.

Base your decisions on the cost of loss, which you can get a sense of by noting the types of data your business relies on — emails, spreadsheets, databases, line-of-business apps, etc. — and determining the impact of losing that information for good and having to recreate it (if you can). Add in the cost of unhappy customers and potential regulatory/compliance violations — and do the math.

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Quest CTO Mike Dillon to speak at Global Conference on Disaster Management

Our Chief Technology Officer, Mike Dillon, will be part of the all-day Global Conference on Disaster Management on November 10 at the Marriott Union Square Hotel in San Francisco.

Mike will discuss how cloud/managed services providers can make all the difference when it comes to protecting and preserving the information and digital applications on which your business depends.

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Trick or treat — or paradigm shift? What do you want to accomplish on your way to the cloud?

Anybody seeking to overcome the limits of traditional IT environments and streamline their business has to consider one of the most significant paradigm shifts of our time — cloud computing.

But take note: Cloud computing takes planning, because each move to the cloud is unique.

To figure out whether cloud computing will deliver what you need, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?”

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