3 Steps to Successful Disaster Recovery Testing

Consider this. You’ve got a disaster recovery plan. And planning is half the battle, right?

But there’s just one problem. How will you know if it works before you need to rely on it? And what happens if you’re relying on it in the exact moment you discover that one or more components aren’t up to par?

Preventing these nightmare scenarios through periodic disaster recovery testing is crucial. By planning for and executing disaster recovery testing at strategic intervals you can ensure your data is safe and ready to restore, should the need arise.  

Although the full methodology of disaster recovery testing is too much information for one blog post, here are 3 basic steps you can take to prepare for successful live disaster recovery testing.

Conduct a Plan Review

Take some time to go over your disaster recovery plan with your team periodically. The goal is to walk through the document in detail and answer any questions or concerns that various team members might have, while also explaining to each team member what their role will be.

Who will be responsible for client communication during downtime? Whose role will it be to initiate backup recovery procedures? Are there better ways to handle various tasks than those currently in the plan? Who will back up a given task should the assigned person be unavailable?

A thorough plan review ensures that everyone is familiar with both their role and their teammates’ roles should disaster strike. It can also bring up potential problems or recent operational changes to address prior to the next step in the testing process.

Related: How Disaster Preparation Pays Off

Perform a Tabletop Test

A tabletop test serves as a mock live scenario where team members are required to demonstrate that they know their duties in an emergency. The idea is to bring out any documentation errors, missing information, or inconsistencies in your disaster recovery plan before you try to enact the plan in a live scenario.

Think of this step as a test of the human elements of your disaster recovery plan, where any holes or weak links can be identified, resolved and eliminated.

Run a Simulation

The third step to take before running a live disaster recovery test is to run a systems simulation. This may involve engaging your continuity resources and recovery sites in various scenarios to determine how your strategy changes based on the specific threats or disasters.

Think of it like this: disaster comes in many forms, from rogue former employees to tornadoes to power outages. Each of these could present its own unique set of technological challenges. Take the time to work through a multitude of possible scenarios. It will go a long way in helping ensure your company against data loss and excessive downtime.

Considering that 60% of SMBs that lose their data are out of business within six months, investing time periodically in testing is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources.

Related: Your BDR Plan is More Than Just Your Backup (It’s Your Lifeline)

Need Help With Disaster Recovery Testing?

The right MSP is worth their weight in gold when it comes to developing and testing a successful disaster recovery plan. As industry professionals, they’ve seen the full scope of potential problems and solutions that require consideration. They can provide priceless insights and guidance that will give you real confidence in your business continuity.

Waiting until problems arise to test your recovery plan is risky business. Managing the risks through testing and revisions will go a long way in preparing your company for success.