Disaster Recovery Extra: 10 hidden perils of DR planning


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Your company may have formulated a disaster recovery plan and invested in the technology to support it, but that might not be enough to ensure that you can recover data.

As the frequency of natural and man-made disasters has increased over the last few years, storage managers' disaster recovery (DR) plans are being scrutinized and undergoing much more testing and refinement.

That's the good news. The bad news is that most of those plans will fail. What follows are the top 10 reasons why most DR plans will fall short of protecting a company's data.

1. There's no DR plan.

If it weren't for CNN, most people would probably never think about disasters. Storage managers focus on day-to-day issues such as system performance and availability. Backups get more attention than DR in most companies because even a moderately sized company will experience the need for operational recoveries every once in a while.

Few people have been through a disaster that takes out their entire data center or campus. The only way to solve the problem of not having a DR plan is to dedicate one or more people to building one. In addition, these people should be devoted to ensuring the existence and success of the DR plan.

2. There's no business-continuity plan.

Many people confuse DR and business continuity (BC). The purpose of a DR plan is to ensure that a company's computer systems

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(and the data stored on those systems) can be made available after a disaster. But there's much more to a business than its computer systems. There are people, communication systems, product creation and delivery systems, as well as many other systems that aren't included as part of a DR plan.

It's possible to have a perfectly functioning data center and still have a non-functional company. The computers may be up and running, but the people who make or deliver your product may not have the physical resources to do their jobs. Or your company's customers may not have a way to contact your sales or customer service departments. In short, the DR plan might have been executed just fine, but your business can't continue. So, you must ensure that any DR plan is coupled with a BC plan. Again, one or more staff members should have sole responsibility for developing a BC plan that integrates with DR planning.

This was first published in May 2006

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