Will your DR solution come through in the clutch?

Customers value an organization's reliability and ease of access, so whenever unplanned downtime occurs, it not only costs businesses in lost sales, it also damages their reputation. To prevent this type of situation, many companies leverage a disaster recovery solution to get them back online as quickly as possible. However, are you confident that your DR solution will come through in the clutch? Let's take a look at how businesses can ensure that their DR plan works effectively when they need it most.

Document the plan

It's important to have the DR strategy fully documented for training purposes and to guide employees during difficult situations. When there's chaos in the office, it can help to have a policy ready to show workers what steps need to be taken to mitigate the problem. However, only 60 percent of companies actually have a documented DR plan, according to Zetta's "2016 State of Disaster Recovery" report. Of those that are confident in their DR plan, 78 percent have a formally documented plan. It's important to establish this type of mindset to help teams calmly and effectively handle unexpected events.

Organizations should routinely test their DR solution.Organizations should routinely test their DR solution.

Test regularly

Once you have a plan in place, your work is just beginning. Even if you believe that your solution is going to be effective, how can you know that for sure? For example, if backups are a part of your plan, what happens if they malfunction or don't have the information that you require? It's vital to routinely test your DR solution down to the finest details to identify any holes or factors that hadn't been considered. As TechTarget contributor George Crump noted, you won't be able to do a complete test every time because it can be expensive and time-consuming. However, partial testing should be done on a quarterly basis, and a full-scale test should be executed once a year.

Testing is an important part of maintaining a DR solution to ensure that it stays in sync with the production environment. If new hardware or personnel are added into the mix, for example, the DR plan must reflect these changes as soon as possible. Testing offers a chance to review what items have changed since the previous test and allows decision-makers to update the plan. This will address any configuration changes, preventing data loss and other operational failures.

Utilize capable tools

"When downtime occurs, you'll want a DR solution that you know you can rely on."

When downtime occurs, you'll want a DR solution that you know you can rely on. If it lacks functionality or is too complex, it could just create more bottlenecks and make it challenging to restore operations quickly. Zetta's report found that 37 percent of respondents believe their DR solution is simply too difficult to use. It's important to not only have a tool that meets your needs, but also is user-friendly. Choosing such a solution will help employees catch on quickly and effectively guide them through difficult situations.

When it comes to tools, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. However, it's important to get a solution that integrates well with other programs. TechTarget contributor Jon Toigo noted that businesses might be looking at storage hardware, continuous data protection, data backup, virtualization and cloud tools. Develop a DR strategy with testing in mind, particularly how all of these solutions fit together and the best way that they would be evaluated. There might be a tool that has a number of these features, making it easy to test and perfect for your DR needs.

Disaster can strike at any time and can come in a number of forms. With the right tools and vendor support, plan documentation and strategy testing, you can ensure that your DR solution comes through in the clutch.