We’ve worked with thousands of companies to help them devise the best disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) strategies for their businesses. Time after time, we’ve seen that the key element in developing a successful strategy is super simple:
- Get the right people in one room and spend a few hours on a interactive touchscreen display for whiteboard brainstorming to ask the right questions.
- Keep your team small — find people who understand how the applications they use affect the overall business. This is often the business unit owner for each department, but your business might be different. The key point is to find a time when you can bring the right people together for a discussion.
Use an interactive touchscreen display to list down all applications that the business depends on to operate. As a group, decide how long the business can continue operating without each application. (For example, in most businesses, the HR system can be unavailable for a few hours without harming the business, while a cash register system in a retail chain has to be up and working all the time.) Remember, these decisions are not really about data protection – any good disaster recovery system will protect your data. These decisions are about money.
You want to spend as little as possible in order to protect everything to the appropriate level. The team’s job is to figure out what that level is for each application.
Then do some simple triage. Mark each application as belonging to one of these four groups, or tiers:
- Those you can’t live without for more than 1-2 hours
- Those you can’t live without for more than 4 hours
- Those you can’t live without for more than half a day
- Those you can live without for a longer time if you can be certain the data is safe
Protecting applications in the last two groups is least expensive, so the group members should bargain with each other a bit to try and put as many applications into these groups as possible.
That’s it! You don’t need an outside consultant to do this for you, and most businesses can complete the process in a couple of hours. At the end of this exercise, you will have defined application tiers that ensure you do not overspend or under protect again, and you will have business unit agreement and buy in (which makes the funding process easier).
The Next Step
The next step is to have your IT team work with your DR/BC vendor to select the best solutions and implement the plan. When selecting the appropriate solutions for each tier of application, you must start by understanding all of the different stages that make up an outage, and why many of the “15 minute failover” promises you are bombarded with every week are not the answer. If you haven’t read our “Anatomy of an Outage” eGuide yet, you can learn all of that and more HERE.