Major network downtime can cripple a business. In some situations, it may even threaten to shutter a business completely. How would your business fare if you were struck by a major cyberattack, or if an important server crashed?
It’s very important that you have a disaster recovery (DR) plan to deal with catastrophe. But those plans won’t offer the required protection if they’re not regularly tested and maintained.
Here are some useful steps for ensuring the success of a disaster recovery test:
The only way to truly gauge the readiness of your disaster recovery system is to have a clear set of goals in mind when you start testing. The most common key performance indicators (KPIs) for a disaster recovery solution are:
Most DR simulations involve isolating the test environment from the production environment so that the test doesn’t affect company efficiency.
When creating a test environment, make sure that it mirrors the production environment as closely as possible, so that your results are indicative of real-life performance.
Consider which employees you wish to tell about the test — and which you don’t. You may wish to keep parts of the test a secret to test true preparedness!
There are several ways to test your disaster recovery system. The first step in successful testing is determine which method is best for your organization. Popular DR testing methods include the following:
By flooding your network with illegitimate requests, hackers use DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to cripple company network services, like websites and servers. Simulating DDoS attacks can help your company reduce RTO, while strengthening the integration of cloud-based back-up services, which are key in DDoS recovery.
How would your network recover from a virus that originates in a fraudulent email? Besides having a plan to account for technical safeguards, DR testing is also a good opportunity to make sure that your team is clear on how it can help mitigate the damage of a phishing attack with a fast, effective response.
After you’ve run the DR test, you’ll want to evaluate your DR plan and make sure that your disaster recovery solution is meeting your current needs. There are several elements that companies tend to overlook when updating their plans, here are some of the most important:
Effective disaster recovery teams include having staff to manage data recovery efforts, assess impact, and supervise restoration. Are tasks being delegated properly, and is the contact information for each person involved easily available?
As systems change, make sure that resources stay allocated to protect high-impact services.
Safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) so your DR system doesn’t accidentally violate compliance requirements like HIPAA and PCI-DSS during the recovery process.
In the event of disaster, do you have a system for bringing cloud and SaaS data back online with the rest of your systems? In cases where cloud back-ups or images are a central part of your DR strategy, you should also account for telecommunications connectivity.
There’s no easy answer to this question. You’ll want to base the frequency of your DR testing on the specific needs of our organization. Here are some events that should prompt a DR test.
If you want someone to take the stress out of disaster recovery implementation and testing off your plate, the Complete Network team is here to help. We have over 20 years of experience helping businesses achieve greater peace of mind through strong, reliable DR solution.
Contact the Complete Network team at 877.877.1840 or email us at [email protected] to find out more!
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