Many organizations lack confidence in their ability to recover from a major incident, such as an IT disaster or cyber attack, and meet set recovery time objectives (RTOs) or stay within impact tolerances. Tests for these scenarios often don’t expose real risks or vulnerabilities and therefore do not lead to preparedness for a real disaster scenario. Disjointed processes and siloed teams lead to delays when mobilizing and coordinating a response.
Why your IT disaster recovery testing does not increase confidence
For some organizations, the way they test does not reflect how they would react to a real incident. When undergoing planned testing, everyone is on support and prepared to manage a known scenario. There is often no objective way to measure the recovery time actuals (RTAs) and this information may be subjectively recorded after the fact, leading to inaccuracies. For testing to be truly effective, it should be representative of real potential scenarios and practiced frequently, ideally with very limited notice. Once you prove that you can respond quickly and effectively to an unplanned test, you can have confidence in your ability to quickly and effectively respond to a real disaster scenario.
The key components of an effective IT disaster recovery plan
Whether it’s for a test or a real recovery, you need to have a good plan in place that you can confidently rely on in the heat of the moment. The key components of recovery plans that can give you confidence are:
- The ability to ‘configure’ the recovery approach according to the scenario rapidly, spinning up the right recovery plans for execution with the right configuration to recover across your estate.
- Executable recovery plans that automate the orchestration of your recovery activities across human tasks such as decision making and automated tasks such as new application and infrastructure provisioning.
- A way to objectively measure RTAs for your applications and services. You should be able to measure the time the activities took compared to what was planned to enable continuous improvement, and ideally, you need a way to evidence that a particular plan was used for that recovery. This gives an excellent data set to qualify your assurance and confidence in future recoveries. It supports post-incident learning, reporting, and compliance. Without this data, these post-event discussions are based on fallible human memory and interpretation rather than objective facts.
- A comprehensive recovery plan that enables you to integrate with your tech stack via API to automatically engage with things like Infrastructure as Code scripts, data recovery, ITSM ticketing, collaboration, and communication notifications. It is also important to define multiple recovery paths so that if certain components of your tech stack are not available during a recovery you have an alternate path to follow.
- Increased visibility of the recovery across the enterprise in an appropriate way without having to involve your senior team to continually give updates and interrupt them doing the recovery. Status should be automated and provided on a self-serve basis.
Cutover provides IT disaster recovery confidence
Cutover takes the risk and cost out of your IT disaster recovery operations by enabling better collaboration between teams and automation. The Cutover platform provides all the functionality mentioned above to help you ensure effective IT disaster testing and recovery.
Next week on the Cutover blog, I’ll be exploring some of the main difficulties organizations face when managing cyber recovery and how to solve them.