Digital Disaster & Recovery: Are you prepared?

A 6 Part Guide to Digital Disaster Recovery

In today’s world of fairly reliable technology and digital storage, most of us take our digital data for granted. We create, save, and move on. Have you ever thought about what would happen if your computer or mobile device just suddenly decided to not turn on? That question leads to many more, which we have laid out in this 6 section guide.


Do you have a disaster plan for your organization or personal data files?

Will you lose any business if you have a hard drive failure?

Have you made a backup copy off all those digital family photos?

Modern hard drives are much more reliable than the disks of yesterday. However, they still are extremely complex electronic devices with moving parts that are subject to

Did you know the average life span for an industry standard consumer level hard drive is 5 years? That is not to say hard drives only last five years but after 5 years it’s a gamble when the drive will fail you.

These questions should be addressed before a disaster or hard drive failure occurs.
Unfortunately, we don’t stop to think about it until it happens. In the meantime, if you back up your data files off site to a cloud service, you have the safety net of having a complete copy of your files while taking the gamble your hard drive will last another few years beyond 5. Free Consumer services exists such as Google Drive, and DropBox that have made consumer level back up services easy to deploy.

Some things to look into when managing your drives:

I. Avoid running a disc drive in very hot environments.
II. At all costs never drop a spinning hard drive. Vibration can cause one of the drive heads to collide with the platter.
III. Spinning up and stopping hard drives cause wear and tear. Think of an automobile engine starting up on a cold day with all the increase in metal to metal contact before the oil moves around the engine. Hard drives most stressful point is the spinning up and spinning down cycles.
IV.Keep the temperature around your hard drives as cool as possible.
V.Try to buy server grade hard drives for your storage when possible.
VI.For video surveillance storage buy the appropriate purple label type hard drives designed to be optimized for NVR environments.

Creating A Recovery Plan

You have managed your drives correctly, checked the environment and everything is optimal. Now you have to find and document a list of people who need to be updated once the disaster does strike. In addition to those involved with performing the restoration process do you have contact information, and a chain of command list of leadership and accountable team members that will need to be involved in the notification process? Organizations should keep a list of all team members responsible for disaster recovery, along with any special rules of engagement required on the response. Do you have or have set up a preferred channel or hub that everyone can gather and communicate the status of the recovery process? Do you have your technology infrastructure documentation accessible to your disaster recovery team? Can your technology infrastructure documentation be followed line by line? Even the most highly trained engineers prefer to follow documentation line by line while performing a sequence of events.

Choosing the Correct Disaster Recovery Technology

Do-it-Yourself on-premises disaster recovery are no longer the only viable solutions for business continuity. Another option is to use cloud-based disaster recovery, where you can spin up your disaster recovery site such as NuWave Disaster Recovery Services using an automated system.

Your disaster recovery partner should protect all of your critical data. What procedures do you have in place to get a server back online? Can your DR provider assist with bringing your hardware site back on line? A few things to take into consideration are how long have they been around? What is there reputation as a technology company? What will your total cost of ownership be? Can the company meet your recovery time tables? And what will your hardware needs be? Can your technology partner help you with a business impact analysis? Can you provide a reference of someone currently using your services? All of these are important topics to cover with your next disaster recovery partner.

 Creating Good Communication Channels

For a disaster recovery plan to work you have to establish who will be the key people involved with the plan. Keeping an updated list of all teams responsible for all stages of the disaster recovery process. A chain of command including team leaders, upper management, and company owners should be on this list along with appropriate roles. This list should identify what will be the main form of communication and if this will be on site or off site. Things to include can be:

  • Who will be the communicator to the public or the employees?
  • Communicate to staff not to discuss the issue until given the green light.
  • Is everyone calm enough to communicate, and what to do if a key member is not?
  • Who will communicate to the CEO?
  • The communication plan should be reviewed once a year at minimum.
  • Document important vendor information in both electrical formats and paper
  • Prepare a web and verbal statement to inform customers you are aware of the problem and are working on correcting it.

Migrating Back to Primary Functionality & Efficiency

Once the disaster is over, your back up resource sites and/or tools may not be enough to support your daily operations for the long term and migrating back to your standard operating methods are necessary. It is important to document who and how does your failback to primary infrastructure get managed? Have you dedicated a procedure in writing on what steps need to occur to get to the primary infrastructure ready to revert back to the Primary IT location and or services? Have you planned for possible downtime during the Failback stage of the recovery? Does the team know what to expect? Taking the time to answer these questions in detail will pay off in the long run.

Things to consider:

Verification of primary site when disaster if over.

Data verification of the primary database

Verification of other components (application/web servers, switches, VPN, and firewall connections)

Perform and document a final run test before switching over to the primary site

Performance Review & Testing

Testing your disaster recovery plan yearly is essential. So many companies don’t test their disaster recovery plan on a regular basis. If you never test your disaster recovery plan, you are putting at risk your entire business once disaster strikes, and you might end up not able to recover in time or recover at all. Performance tests are also important to assess whether or not your secondary system is sufficient to withstand the current business load. Another good way to test your DR site is to periodically run non-essential programs on it to see how it responds and to keep the team well-conditioned to the action response and procedures. Lastly keeping all of your DR site paperwork updated. Keep a list of risks to the business and any close calls that threaten the continuity of operations. Learn and document and past DR events in a log to learn from them in the future. With the help of NuWave Technology, Inc Disaster Recovery solutions, you can be certain that your business is protected from any kind of disaster and that your business processes will be up and running in the cloud seconds after disaster strikes.