A natural disaster or a freak accident can cause temporary service outages, security breaches, partial/full loss of data, or even loss of key personnel. The loss of a key employee can impact your day-to-day operations. That is why having a disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a necessity for business continuity. Important components of a DRP should include the physical setups for data protection and replication (at a backup location), and successful failover and failback strategies. These components ensure that you can execute your disaster recovery plan without the possibility of encountering failure.
Understanding Failback and Failover Success
Failback and failover operations are critical DRP components that help stem further damage in disaster scenarios and provide restoration. Failback refers the process of restoring your IT environment. Failover, on the other hand, refers to a process that kicks in when your systems fail. Failover processes are designed to reduce the damage and complications that can happen from a disaster.
When your primary systems and servers start to encounter errors, failover will initiate in the form of a standby operation mode or redundancy. This allows affected servers and applications to hibernate until they can be returned to normal I/O (input/output) and when data is successfully restored. You should keep in mind that failover comes first. It is a temporary solution that keeps critical business functions running before a permanent solution can be reached.
How to Achieve Failover and Failback Success
- Plan, review, and compliance
Does your organization process, store, or transmit sensitive cardholder data or patient-health information? In most cases, you need to maintain regulatory compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). It is pertinent that you begin reviewing the requirements pertaining to failover and failback so that you can successfully incorporate their specifications.
- Licensing limits
There may be licensing limits in your application stack, so you should check that they address all requirements before employing them for any length of time.
- Production capacity
This step involves making sure that you have adequate DRP production capacity and coverage.
- Time management
Are you currently working with a managed IT service provider (MSP) to manage disaster recovery function and perform data backup processes? Consider reviewing documentation and ensure that they effectively address the time needed to transition your IT environment back to the original site.
- Roles and responsibilities
Do you know which roles your MSP has taken up? All parties in the disaster recovery process should share a mutual understanding of their roles and responsibilities. There is no room for assumptions!
- Service Level Agreements
If you have access to operational service level agreements, now is the time to review them. You will want to ensure that they carry over to the DR environment when situations require that to happen.
- Hardware replacement
You need to make sure that you will have enough time to obtain or procure replacement hardware.
- Site transformation
It may cost you money to transform your DR site into a permanent one. You may need to consider facility costs, equipment cost, software cost, failover declaration fees, and more.
Start testing your failover strategy and failback plan. You need to determine if your business can recover in your temporary DR site and that applications can run successfully when you disengage your primary site. The tests should also tell you if and when your company can transition from the recovery site to the original site.
If you are looking to move your IT environment to a DR provider for the first time, you can enjoy complete peace of mind when you leave it in the hands of ANEXIO. When you partner with us for your DR needs, crucial operations will 24/7/365, with minimal downtime.