Practical approaches to disaster recovery

Every business needs to be concerned with disaster recovery. This Q&A offers some universal means to help you prepare customers for disaster.

IT channel takeaway: Learn about some universal means for preparing customers for disaster recovery.

With Bob Thornton, director of disaster recovery and business continuity, Optimus Solutions.

Question: Certainly, enterprises in the Gulf Coast or Tornado Alley need to worry about disaster recovery, but how seriously should an organization take disaster recovery if they aren't prone to extreme weather or terrorist attack?

Thornton: The point you need to understand is that a lot of things can cause disasters. Some of the more horrific events get a lot of attention, but you have to be practical and think beyond just natural disasters. A number of major disasters in the recent past were caused by infrastructure issues, which can happen anywhere. Look at the Northeast power outage from several years ago. A lot of times, a network goes down due to employee mistakes. These types of things create more problems for individual companies than any of those natural events.

Question: Every organization has its own unique requirements, but are there any universal means of preparing for a recovery?

Thornton: Yes, each company has unique requirements, and there are a number of solutions out there depending on what those requirements are. So one of the most common issues is understanding what your real requirements are and determining solutions that best fit your needs. At one time, contracting with hot sites with raised floors and other infrastructure enhancements was sort of the universal solution, although their popularity has trailed off lately as new capabilities have come on the market. Now, it is important for each organization to determine what their real business needs are and determine the solutions that best fit those needs and are affordable.

Question: When it comes to backing up data, how should organizations assign value to the various types of data in their possession?

Thornton: That comes through engaging the business units that are the real owners of that data. A business impact analysis will give you an idea of what that data is, how critical it is to business operations, how soon it must be recovered and so forth. You'll probably find that certain data is more valuable to some parts of the organization than to others. But the two main questions are: Who owns the data, and how critical is it to continued business operations? Once you determine that and you establish a timeframe for recovery, then you can look for solutions that meet those time requirements.

This 3 Questions originally appeared in a weekly report from IT Business Edge.

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