Should You Have a Digital Resilience and Recovery Plan?

Why you need to protect your business’s digital presence

As I write this (Friday 19th June, 2020), Australia has been under cyber-attack from a ‘state actor’ impacting on systems all over the country. This brings Digital Resilience and Recovery into sharp focus.

To reduce the impact of an IT outage, Sundata works with clients to develop digital resilience, as well as disaster recovery and continuity plans. Our aim is to ensure that no matter what goes wrong in the digital environment, your critical systems will be safe and accessible, supporting business continuity. These plans have ranges of benefits, which include continuity of customer service, minimising recovery times, improving data security, preventing potential legal liability, increasing cost-efficiency, and increasing employee productivity.

Where to Start

Step one of a digital recovery or continuity plan is to prioritise which systems need to be protected through strategies such as duplication or hardening. Each service, which could be anything from internal ERP to a client-facing web site, to payroll and anything in between, has a couple of key aspects:  RTO and RPO (These are not options on a 1956 Land Rover, that’s a PTO). 

RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) encapsulate how long a business can stand to be without them, and also the point the business would like to return to when systems are back (e.g. last transaction before the failure).

Once these aspects have been agreed to within the business, decisions can be considered relating to the investment required to achieve these goals. Of course, the ideal RTO is zero and the ideal RPO is the last transaction before the outage. The cost to achieve close to this may be exponentially high, so a value judgement needs to be made by the business (not just IT – that’s another blog on its own).

Conversely, if your systems can sustain a 2-4 day outage and a recovery point of the last successful backup, then you probably don’t need an intense recovery or continuity plan.  In this age of all digital, always on, it might surprise you to know that many business services can live happily this way.

Taking action

Once the RTO/RPO question has been answered for key business systems, we break the critical infrastructure and applications down and work out how to deliver the magical RTO/RPO outcome.

In the case of WAN links for example, redundant links such as 4G failover might do the job. For servers, VMotion from VMWare might be part of the answer.  

In the case of Netapp storage users, the SnapMirror software solution plays a part. SnapMirror safeguards your critical data and saves your digital presence in the event of a disaster, protecting your business with unified data replication. (SnapMirror also works to make your digital workspaces more efficient, by improving the traffic inside your environment, in some instances, shrinking the storage footprint.)

The dark secret of Disaster Recovery for IT

Testing doesn’t happen enough (or at all).  Too often plans are in place and even documented in "the big red binder." 

As a client famously said, "don’t show me the DR plan—show me the DR test results."

An untested Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is not a recipe for success.  In fact, some clients have productionised their DR testing by role swapping on a regular schedule—taking the panic out of real life outage responses. Every minute you are without your key data and business assets are minutes the business is out of operation. We believe that a digital resilience and recovery plan is one of the most important things to keep your business in business.

With a qualified IT team that’s been supporting clients for over 30 years, you can trust us. At Sundata, we simply want you to thrive in the digital climate we live in.

Contact us today and let us help you set up your digital resilience and recovery plan for your business.

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