After reading the blog 4 Things IT Can Learn From Massachusetts Record Snowfall, I began to think about natural disasters and other types of scenarios that could disrupt IT and for that matter companies as a whole. Every second of every day, volumes of irreplaceable data is updated.
Can your business afford its data to take sick leave? My guess is NO.
Customers that I speak to insist that data is now the heart of their organization and their business cannot afford to lose productivity.
With that said, I want to share a top ten list of customer recommendations. Let’s title this list, ‘How to avoid disruption, recover data, and ensure IT business continuity in the event of any type of system outage’.
- Identify all business critical data and systems within the company
- Perform a business impact analysis to revenue and cost implications of a disaster recovery plan
- Define retention periods for all data
- Establish data recovery service level agreements (recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives)
- Develop a business continuity/disaster recovery IT plan for various types of system failures (natural disasters, human error, etc.)
- Identify, educate and train the appropriate IT personnel on your organization’s business continuity/disaster recovery plan
- Backup your data on a regular basis to a secondary source
- Replicate and/or store a copy of critical data at an offsite location
- Test your data protection and recovery procedures on a regular basis
- Review and update your business continuity plan annually
A customer who has found the right prescription is Publix Employees Federal Credit Union (PEFCU). Wikibon provided us a glimpse into PEFCU’s previous challenges and its current data protection strategy. As a financial institution, data protection and meeting federal regulations are always top of mind. As Karen Sullivan, CIO/CSO at PEFCU spoke with Wikibon, she touched on most of the above recommendations.
I was impressed to learn how PEFCU’s environment has changed. PEFCU has a DR site, but wait there’s more, they have a third Warm site. PEFCU is cascading data from their primary location to its other two sites with an asynchronous replication approach. In Karen’s eyes, if something is corrupt in the primary data center, she has confidence that it’s not corrupt in the DR or Warm site.
When sharing best practices, Karen spoke about aligning IT with the business and look at a strategic five-year plan. She goes on to say; “if you don’t do this, you might get stuck buying equipment or software that might not get you into the future. Work with your vendor by sharing these plans and goals, you will be successful designing an environment that will meet your needs and future goals”.