There is a lot of information available on Disaster Preparedness, yet it is estimated between 70% and 90% of businesses close their doors within two years of suffering a major disaster. We have been assisting clients for over 21 years, in designing and maintaining their networks. Those that have taken our advice have suffered catastrophic server failures and storage loss, yet maintained normal business operations as if nothing had happened. They had the tools and resources already in place so that the problems they encountered were non-issues.
I can tell you stories about people that did not take our advice and suffered a major outage. The cost of that outage was significant in terms of lost man-hours, missed client orders, etc. The need to implement a disaster recovery plan is so obviously important the question becomes: “Why don’t you have one?” I believe the reason is because it seems like such a daunting process. Over the next few weeks I will be outlining what some of our best steps are to a Disaster Recovery plan. This framework is part of our process and it has worked for many. This series of articles will help you understand disaster recovery and what it will take for your business. It is by no means a complete guide. If you would like more information or you are ready to get started, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 860.450.1737.
Step 1: Getting to know your network
Anything you do from a disaster recovery stand-point will be built on top of your existing infrastructure. Most networks did not grow out of a predefined plan, and even if they did, odds are good that it does not resemble that plan any longer. This is not a bad thing, a network is very much like a child, it is constantly growing and changing. That growth is not always easy; changes and fixes will have had to be made on the fly so business can continue. It’s those undocumented changes that you know about but really did not plan on having in the first place that come back to bite you later. To identify these changes and avoid potential recover issues, our technicians at pds2k.com will perform a Network Capabilities Profile or NCP.
The NCP gives you a snapshot of your current network status. We will provide you with a straight to the point bulleted list of what improvements are recommended to allow you to meet your goals. This phase focuses on your network hardware and infrastructure, getting us familiar with your network and business and allowing us to provide the information you need to build a solid foundation on which your disaster recovery plan will sit. For example: If your business relies heavily on Internet traffic, clustered firewalls and multiple ISPs will be some of the areas of focus.
Obviously it will be different for every company, but one thing is common to call. It is called “single points of failure”. A single point of failure is analogous to a house of cards, if you pull one card they all come crashing down. For instance, almost all networks have their computers connected to a hub or switch. If that switch fails then none of the computers can connect to the server. That would be a single point of failure. There are less obvious ones though. Let’s say you have only a single domain controller. If that server goes down, you will most likely lose that ability to connect to the Internet, access your stored files, and so on. If your phone lines go out, how will you communicate with the outside world? These are the things that you need to make a list of and prepare for.
Once you have that list you can start making decisions about what to do first. That is where our experience will prove valuable. We work with dozens of networks every month, so we can bring together a much larger array of options as we are drawing from a much range of experiences. We can show you several different ways to solve your problems based on how much you can budget for this phase of the project.
In the next segment we will look at policies, procedures and best practices. In the interim, if you would like to talk to one of our team members for more information please give us a call at 860.450.1737 or email us as email@example.com