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Guide to Conceptualizing a Disaster Recovery Plan – Part 2

Disaster Recovery Goals

In Part 1 of this series, I presented how assessing and addressing potential problems and understanding the business impact is a critical first step in defining a disaster recovery plan. So, what’s next you might ask? Establishing your recovery goals to fit your business needs. “But Dale, how do I properly define my recovery goals if I’m just getting started with my disaster recovery plan?”. Ultimately, it is up to you to set up the proper window of time to ensure your business is minimally impacted.

Establish Recovery Goals

When you sit down and start to understand the recovery goals for your organization, it can be a little hard to know where to start. My advice is to start by  force ranking all of the applications and processes that you need in order to keep your business running. For example, imagine you are an online retailer. Your payment, order processing and shipping systems are critically important and need to quickly be back up and running compared to a print server, individual PST files or internal administrative systems such as HR or payroll. If you can’t process payments and ship out the merchandise, your business can’t survive. The latter processes are still important but they aren’t imperative to the success of the business.

It’s imperative that you really identify what your business can and can’t survive without. Some applications will have to be sacrificed sometimes. Think about the guy in the office who ALWAYS sends emails with a little red exclamation mark regardless of how important it actually is? After a while you get desensitized and ignore the perceived urgency of the email. This is a great example of what to NOT do when establishing your recovery goals in a DR plan. You want to make sure that only the most critical and weighted business applications are set with a little red exclamation point. That’s where your focus needs to be during a critical systems failure.

In summation, don’t allow all of your applications to be of the urgent variety. That will result in wasted resources and additional overhead should a disaster occur. Set recovery goals that ensure your critical business applications are up and running first and the rest can follow suit.

Want to ready on? Check out Part 3 where I talk about choosing the right data recovery type.

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