disaster recovery

4 steps to testing disaster recovery plans effectively

Expecting any process to run flawlessly the first time that it’s implemented is not realistic, and disaster recovery is no exception. Planning is the first step in successful DR, but testing is also an important piece. The following points are best practices for DR testing.

Establish a core disaster recovery team
Implementing a disaster recovery plan is stressful. Individuals on the DR team should be able to lead under pressure and remain calm while delivering results.

After the team members have been identified, each individual should be cross-trained. In an instance where the entire team cannot make it on-site to implement the recovery strategy, the rest of the team should be able to continue to operate efficiently.

Ics813/Bigstock

Ics813/Bigstock

During DR testing, establish scenarios and goals
When testing DR plans, set specific goals for the team in order to evaluate effectiveness – examples include beating a set response time or implementing the plan with zero errors.

In addition, create realistic scenarios to provide for the team. Painting a realistic picture of the problems that could potentially occur help DR team members understand how to respond appropriately in different situations.

Involve business stakeholders in DR strategy and testing
Stakeholders should always be aware anytime scheduled downtime will occur. They can also provide a unique point of view by providing feedback as services are restored.

After a test is complete, report the success back to the stakeholders. They’ll appreciate seeing the return on the investment in DR planning – and they’ll know what to expect if ever a true disaster strikes.

Practice makes perfect. Learn from mistakes – and keep testing
The goal of DR testing is to understand how to implement a recovery plan during a real disaster. If the tests don’t run as planned, it gives the organization the opportunity to make changes and perfect the process.

DR plans should be tested once per year, at minimum. The more frequently tests are run, the more likely a plan will be implemented without error in a real disaster.

4 steps to testing disaster recovery plans effectively

Expecting any process to run flawlessly the first time that it’s implemented is not realistic, and disaster recovery is no exception. Planning is the first step in successful DR, but testing is also an important piece. The following points are best practices for DR testing.

Establish a core disaster recovery team
Implementing a disaster recovery plan is stressful. Individuals on the DR team should be able to lead under pressure and remain calm while delivering results.

After the team members have been identified, each individual should be cross-trained. In an instance where the entire team cannot make it on-site to implement the recovery strategy, the rest of the team should be able to continue to operate efficiently.

Ics813/Bigstock

Ics813/Bigstock

During DR testing, establish scenarios and goals
When testing DR plans, set specific goals for the team in order to evaluate effectiveness – examples include beating a set response time or implementing the plan with zero errors.

In addition, create realistic scenarios to provide for the team. Painting a realistic picture of the problems that could potentially occur help DR team members understand how to respond appropriately in different situations.

Involve business stakeholders in DR strategy and testing
Stakeholders should always be aware anytime scheduled downtime will occur. They can also provide a unique point of view by providing feedback as services are restored.

After a test is complete, report the success back to the stakeholders. They’ll appreciate seeing the return on the investment in DR planning – and they’ll know what to expect if ever a true disaster strikes.

Practice makes perfect. Learn from mistakes – and keep testing
The goal of DR testing is to understand how to implement a recovery plan during a real disaster. If the tests don’t run as planned, it gives the organization the opportunity to make changes and perfect the process.

DR plans should be tested once per year, at minimum. The more frequently tests are run, the more likely a plan will be implemented without error in a real disaster.

The constantly changing world of healthcare IT

It’s no secret that healthcare is rapidly changing in the United States, and healthcare IT is moving quickly to keep up. As healthcare continues to evolve, providers are quickly learning the significance of BYOD, mobile apps, archiving and DRaaS.

What’s changing now?

As mobile health is expected to expand to a $20 billion market, healthcare providers are stepping up their technology game. Last year, 78 percent of clinicians – primary care doctors, oncologists, cardiologists, psychiatrists, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners – used smartphones and 34 percent used tablets professionally. Those numbers are on the rise. This year, you can find 86 percent of doctors on their smart phones and 53 percent on tablets. Even more telling, nearly half of doctors are considered “omnivores,” meaning they use three types of devices – smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Ra2studio/Shutterstock

Ra2studio/Shutterstock

What’s the next step?

Healthcare providers are looking to provide the access that patients are requesting. Right now, 43 percent of patients can access their medical records online, but more than 80 percent would like access. To meet patient requests, the patient portal market is predicted to reach $900 million over the next three years.

What obstacles must healthcare IT overcome?

More than 33 percent of hospitals don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. The needs of patients require real time, available access to healthcare systems at any given time – including when disaster, natural or otherwise, strikes. As healthcare IT continues to move forward, disaster recovery must become a priority.

Is healthcare IT moving quickly enough to keep up with the changes in healthcare?

Expert Forum: 5 Considerations for Selecting a DRaaS Provider in 2014

This was a live discussion that took place on March 6th, 2014. Our experts discussed what should be top-of-mind as you seek a DRaaS provider.

Additional Forums in this Series

 

Your Google Hangout guides

Allen-Michael Strysik_smallSpeaker: Michael Strysik, Logicalis Solution Architect
Managed Services and Cloud
Across the past 12 months, Michael has worked with many companies to define their DR needs and help them plan how to take advantage of DRaaS.  He’ll share his experiences and insights on what companies are doing to make sure they have a strategic and affordable DR plan.

 

Jeff-Raylea_Head-ShotHost: Jeff Ralyea
With more than 20 years in the industry and a reputation for thought-leadership across his diverse career, Jeff offers the unique insight and perspective that makes him a perfect host for our event.

 

CIOs continue to move toward “as a service” models

Guest author: Kevin Gruneisen, Senior Director, Cloud and Data Center Solutions

It’s no secret the “as a service” model is continuing to gain popularity among CIOs, as these models can optimize processes, save money and leave more time for CIOs to focus on top-level strategies. When considering outsourcing, do any of the main as-a-service applications stand out from the rest?

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Cloud providers can tailor a software-as-a-service solution for different products and markets, software providers are increasingly able to provide consistent, always-up service  and don’t require the cost and hassle of creating and maintaining in-house infrastructure.

Ai824/Shutterstock.com

Ai824/Shutterstock.com

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-service offers solutions that are self-managed and multi-tenant and can provide flexible computing resources, memory and storage. IaaS is great for testing and development, training and other short-term needs.

Data Center-as-a-Service (DCaaS)

Outsourcing select data center functions to the cloud, co-locating a data center, or deploying an energy-efficient, high-density computing modular data center may well be a very efficient way of moving on from purpose built, but now outdated DCs.

Storage as a Service

Storage-as-a-service offers affordable monthly terms and the ability to easily increase storage service levels as needed. It’s an efficient option, particularly for businesses legally requirements to retain large volumes of data for extended periods of time.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

DRaaS solutions provide a standard DR in a cloud environment and can be bought on a pay-per-use basis. This is a highly cost-effective option for many companies.

IT Service Desk-as-a-Service

Outsourcing IT service desks can cut costs and increase the level of service to end users without sacrificing quality or impacting competitive advantage. There seems to be no glaring disadvantages to IT executives.

ITSM

ITSM is a solution that maintains order and keeps the reins of control firmly entrenched in the hands of the IT department. It will be difficult to avoid ITSM as an effective solution as CIOs move toward “aaS.”

All as-a-service applications have benefits. In the end, the services that stand out to CIOs will depend on the individual organization.

Has your company adopted any of these models? Which “as-a-service” applications stand out the most to you?

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