Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Identify your key applications

People in small businesses tend to keep their heads down and press on, only occasionally stopping to take stock.  Given that we are all highly dependent on our applications and systems it is always good to periodically review which of them are most important.  

Do you have an up-to-date comprehensive list of all the shared business applications people use? Who uses each application? What happens if one goes wrong?  How does this affect the business?  How long can people work without it? What is the impact on the business and the individual?

In the event of a disaster which applications do you need first to keep the business working?

Start by creating a general overview, list all the applications the business uses, you may be surprised by the number.  Add the columns for the different questions and criteria.  Create a comprehensive list so that you can order and filter the list by the various criteria. This list is important because it brings everything together in one place and it becomes an important communication document within the business.

A Disaster Recovery Review should start with this overview, test it on your colleagues, are all applications listed, have you missed one, do people agree? 

The final step is to decide the priority business applications, as this will be the order of applications to look at in detail from a failure and DR perspective. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New Year – Review your DR

Time to review
The New Year is traditionally a time to reset the clock, so it is a good time to review your Disaster Recovery process.  Now is a good time to add DR to your Agenda and keep it here, it is only too easy to put it back.

Last year we had one major call for DR (see Disaster DoesStrike) and several smaller less dramatic calls to use the backups.  The problem with computer systems is that they are continually changing and over a period of time these changes can add up to quite a large shift.  This is an issue for DR as the system that worked well last year may not work as well now.

Over the next few weeks I will look at various aspects of the DR review, but I think it would be a good idea for everyone to set time aside and book a short DR review in the next month.  Start small and book a couple of hours to start the process and keep the topic on your agenda.

Better still book yourself a “fire drill” to test your DR process.

A full DR incident might only be a once in a lifetime event, but it could happen any time.  Be prepared, don’t get caught out.