Disaster Recovery Plans–Common Similarities and Differences


There are many common elements between customers’ Disaster Recovery Plans.  Some things are universal such as developing a communication plan that includes phone numbers, physical addresses, cell phones, emails, IM’s, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.  As many ways as possible to potentially contact key disaster recovery team members as possible as you don’t know what services will be up and running during and after a disaster.

Other things that are common are designating alternative IT resources if the expected internal personnel aren’t available, alternative work locations, key team members that have generators etc.

However there are many variations between companies. Much having to do with the size and scale of the organization.  Smaller businesses may have an owner or principal who has a basement ready for emergency use including a generator, stock of bottled water, long shelf life foods, card tables and desks,  extra laptops, backup internet via a MiFi device etc.

Larger companies may contract with professional disaster recovery companies that provide office space and equipment in the event of an emergency.

Another area that varies depends on the application the company runs.  Companies who’s applications are HTML based have no problem spinning up in the cloud and operating because the bandwidth between the user and the server can be minimal.  But if the company uses a ‘fat’ client server application where significant data is transmitted between the client application on a local PC and a server, than the customer must have something like Terminal Services available in the cloud failover.  Even if they normally don’t use Terminal Services for all their users daily, they need to have Terminal Server(s) tested and ready in their cloud images because performance will not be acceptable any other way.

Also, companies that host their own email on premises need to have solutions in place relative to DNS servers ahead of time to ensure that if they start sending email from the disaster recovery data center or remote location, it will not be immediately be flagged as Spam due to the changed IP address scheme and thus become undeliverable for weeks

We feel no company is truly ready to handle a disaster who don’t already subscribe to a solution such as EverSafe! or some other type of real time, remote location failover technology.  When I say remote, I don’t mean a backup connection to the owners basement 5 miles away from the office as we’ve seen with some companies.  When a disaster like a hurricane, regional power outage or earthquake hits, they aren’t exactly ‘surgical’ in terms of just hitting your office.

If a customer can’t be sure they can bring up current images of their servers in the cloud within a few hours of disaster striking, than they can’t operate and risk losing significant revenues and potentially bankruptcy.

Simply backing up your data, even to the cloud, is going to result in days or weeks of IT downtime due to the time involved in procuring new equipment, installing Operating Systems, applications and restoring data.  Many cloud data vendors require you to restore your data via the internet which can take weeks or longer when you are talking about terabytes of data.