Oct 7, 2020

Want Disaster Recovery Success? Start with a Business Impact Analysis

Deven Arya, Solutions Engineer

Between 2020’s pandemic, hurricanes and wildfires, it’s never been more important to have a solid disaster recovery (DR) plan. INAP’s Jennifer Curry, SVP, Product and Technology, recently spoke with Tech Republic on this very subject. The necessity of DR is widely known, but getting started isn’t always so simple. When a company launches a disaster recovery planning process, it can be daunting task for the IT team to know what systems they need to be made available and in what order. Do we include all the marketing servers? Do we need our HR server right away? The best starting point to plan your DR strategy is to run a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).

A BIA allows a company to better understand what services are needed and in what order they need to continue running. There is no right or wrong process in a BIA, but a few things must be taken into consideration when it comes to putting one together. Check out the list below to get started, and then download INAP’s Business Impact Analysis template, linked below.

Considerations for the Business Impact Analysis

What essential apps and workloads does the company need to provide in the immediate aftermath of a DR scenario?

Which departments would be providing those services? These departments will need to provide information on what systems they require to continue serving internal and external customers. These may include auxiliary systems as well.

Does IT have a list of the systems required by each department to continue business as usual in a DR event?

Each department, no matter what service they provide, needs to be taken into account. This helps everyone understand the many moving parts between different groups. For example, while the accounting group has their own dedicated servers for their accounting app, they may be using a file server for storing data files that’s shared by everyone in the company. In all likelihood, this file server would have been considered non-essential until the BIA was done.

What important internal functions and services are essential to operations?

There may be times when IT assumes a department may not be critical in the plan until they understand all the services it provides. For example, HR payroll systems are essential to a functioning business and needs to be included in the plan. Similarly, marketing and communications systems may need to operate to run critical internal communications during a DR scenario. These functions keep information moving through the necessary channels. Be sure to thoroughly review the functions of all departments.

What kind of timeline should IT follow in a DR scenario?

It is important to understand the timeline in which each app and workload is needed to be brought back online. Some systems simply don’t need an RTO (recovery time objective) of under a few hours. Creating a detailed hierarchy and timeline will save money and logistical headaches. What lower priority systems need to be taken into account? Think about your media storage, archival storage and business intelligence applications and databases and similar systems and where they fit into the plan.

Next Steps

As you use the above considerations to guide your business impact analysis creation, be sure to run your analysis with key team members of each department to create a holistic business continuity document.

Ready to get started on your BIA? Below you can download INAP’s ready-to-use template. You can also check out this post from the ThinkIT blog for more tips on creating this important document.

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Deven Arya

Solutions Engineer

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