Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Preparing for
Frequently Asked Questions
about Disaster Recovery Tests
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
A good disaster recovery plan is like
insurance.
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
You
you’ll never have
to use it.
HOPE
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
But what happens if…
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
But what happens if…
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
…?
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
or WORSE
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
A full disaster recovery plan will ensure your
employees can stay connected, acce...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
But it’s not enough to just create the plan.
You must put it to the test.
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Here are the most
frequently asked
questions about
disaster recovery tests
so you...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
What is a disaster recovery test?
A DR test is a process to evaluate the proc...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
How often should I do a disaster recovery test?
Typically, DR tests are perfo...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
What is a run book and why is it critical to a
DR test?
A disaster recovery r...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
What kind of downtime should I expect
during a disaster recovery test?
None. ...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
How should I prepare for a disaster
recovery test?
First establish your DR te...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
Walk me through the steps of a typical
DR test.
Each test will be a little di...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
What are RPO and RTO and why do they
matter?
RPO (Recovery Point Objective) i...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Q
A
How do you know if a disaster recovery test was
a success?
There are three co...
Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
Need help testing your DR plan?
Xtium can assist.
Numerous systems are involved i...
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Preparing for Disaster: FAQs about Disaster Recovery Tests

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Answers to the most commonly asked questions about disaster recovery testing, so you can be prepared for any emergency scenario.

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Preparing for Disaster: FAQs about Disaster Recovery Tests

  1. 1. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Preparing for Frequently Asked Questions about Disaster Recovery Tests
  2. 2. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. A good disaster recovery plan is like insurance.
  3. 3. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. You you’ll never have to use it. HOPE
  4. 4. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. But what happens if…
  5. 5. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. But what happens if…
  6. 6. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. …?
  7. 7. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. or WORSE
  8. 8. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. A full disaster recovery plan will ensure your employees can stay connected, accessing their work-related data through remote computers, smartphones and other personal devices.
  9. 9. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. But it’s not enough to just create the plan. You must put it to the test.
  10. 10. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Here are the most frequently asked questions about disaster recovery tests so you can be prepared for the worst.
  11. 11. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A What is a disaster recovery test? A DR test is a process to evaluate the procedures an organization has in place for ensuring business continuity in the event of a major service interruption or catastrophic event. Q Why is disaster recovery testing important to my organization? A Disaster recovery testing gives you the ability to assess and correct your procedures before an actual disaster forces your organization to use them. When performed on a regular basis, DR tests are a critical component of a sound business continuity strategy. Tests allow Xtium and its customers to ensure the integrity of protected data as well as execute and refine processes for making that data available in the event of a declared disaster.
  12. 12. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A How often should I do a disaster recovery test? Typically, DR tests are performed once per year, but some organizations require multiple tests each year. We see this in the case of highly regulated industries such as financial services or other businesses in which the frequency of testing is mandated by regulatory compliance guidelines. Q When do you do disaster recovery tests? A DR tests are performed around your organization’s schedule. This is to ensure that the appropriate personnel are available to participate in the test and assist in creating a DR run book. Consider annual testing a starting point for your company. Xtium asks that tests be scheduled as far in advance of the requested date as possible, requiring at least two weeks’ notice in order to ensure the proper test resources are aligned. Xtium recommends DR testing after any major event, such as changing office locations, opening a new office, major architectural or infrastructure upgrades, or mergers and acquisitions.
  13. 13. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A What is a run book and why is it critical to a DR test? A disaster recovery run book is a working document unique to every organization that outlines the steps the company needs to take to recover from a disaster. Run books, or updates to run books, are the outputs of every DR test. A run book includes a prioritization sequence of events for a successful recovery of business services, applications and infrastructure components. It also contains a list of critical contacts that can be reached in the event of a disaster. These include the IT department heads, leads for specific applications, administrators of particular systems, and the managed service provider, among others. We find that email is usually the first application on the recovery list, enabling employee communication in case of a disaster. In close second are core business applications such as accounting apps, investor relation apps, and CRM or ERP systems, among others.
  14. 14. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A What kind of downtime should I expect during a disaster recovery test? None. Tests are performed in an isolated environment in parallel to production. The two systems don't cross-communicate, so production systems won't be affected during a test. Q Can I cheat on my DR test? A While it would certainly be possible to submit fabricated results, why would you? In the event of a true disaster, you’ll want to ensure that your tests have vetted and documented all of the correct steps and procedures for recovery. Xtium strongly advises against actively failing over production systems for testing purposes due to the risk of compromising data while in a test state. The benefits of correctly going through the DR testing process regularly are mutually beneficial for both your company and Xtium as your provider.
  15. 15. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A How should I prepare for a disaster recovery test? First establish your DR team. Members should include the head of the technology department (i.e. CIO, CTO or Director of IT), leads and/or power users of specific applications (i.e. email, business apps, etc.), administrators of particular systems, and other third-party IT providers you may use. Identify which infrastructure components, applications and business services your test will include. And don’t forget to set success and failure criteria. Remember, a test is meant to show you where the plan has holes, so don’t be afraid to have it fail! As your service provider, Xtium is also part of your DR test team.
  16. 16. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A Walk me through the steps of a typical DR test. Each test will be a little different, so here is a “framework” level overview: 1. Declare a mock “disaster.” 2. Execute a communication plan. 3. Identify order of restoration of failed systems. 4. Execute run book restoration procedures. 5. Validate recovery and data integrity. 6. Communicate results. 7. Conclude test and return to normal operating procedures. Make sure that each of your tests contains these steps, and that the supporting activities are reviewed once the test is completed.
  17. 17. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A What are RPO and RTO and why do they matter? RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is the point in time from which your data is restored. Typical RPOs range from one hour to 24 hours, depending on the sensitivity of the data and the business service that data supports. The more real-time the service, the lower the RPO and vice versa. RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is the amount of time it takes to recover your systems in the event of a disaster. This is the amount of downtime that is acceptable before there is a significant impact to business operations. The same principle that holds true for RPO also supports RTO targets. Both RTO and RPO are affected by the amount of data that is protected/replicated and the change rate of that data. When change rates are lower, RPOs can be a lot shorter. The greater the rate of change, the longer a backup can run.
  18. 18. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Q A How do you know if a disaster recovery test was a success? There are three constants that suggest success across all testing scenarios: 1. Ability to meet your assigned RTOs and RPOs. 2. Successfully restoring your data and system connectivity. 3. Processing business transactions in a DR/test environment. Q What do you do with the results of a DR test? A Test results go into the organization’s DR run book with a list of any known issues or workarounds to be performed to the systems upon restoration. Each organization can and should set their own success criteria for the success of DR tests. DR run books are the go-to documents in the event of a major service interruption or catastrophic event.
  19. 19. Xtium, Inc. © 2013. All rights reserved. Need help testing your DR plan? Xtium can assist. Numerous systems are involved in the daily operation of Independence Capital Partners and our goal is to protect those systems and data while providing a recovery mechanism. Xtium has enabled us to simplify our DR testing process and be prepared in the event of a system failure or true disaster. - George Scheffey, CIO “ ” Contact us for more information solutions@xtium.com www.xtium.com 800-707-9116

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