What Is Disaster Recovery Testing?

What is disaster recovery testing and why should you get this done ASAP. Baroan Technologies helps answer this critical question.
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Disaster Recovery Testing

The business world has come a long way as far as files and documents storage is concerned. The transition from notepads and clipboards to computers is 100% commendable, as users no longer have to worry about losing or misplacing their data in their archives. But wait, not so fast; the influx of new technologies has come with its fair share of challenges. There’s no denying that computers (machines) are the most efficient and reliable solutions. However, that doesn’t mask them from failures, theft, malicious attacks, viruses, natural disasters, etc. And when such risks occur, there’s usually no guarantee that you may recover the lost data. Thankfully, your organization can avoid these technology risks by drafting a comprehensive business continuity plan. The plan lays down a strategy to carry on with business functions during and after a disaster, and one of its core pillars is disaster recovery, DR. Today, we focus on disaster recovery testing: what is it, how does it work, and why should your company do it? So keep scrolling, and we’ll settle your curiosity by answering these questions!

What is Disaster Recovery Testing?

In a word, DR testing is the act of simulating an IT failure or any other cause of business disruption to unmask potential flaws in your business continuity plan. The goal is to ascertain that your business can recover data, restore critical apps, and proceed with operations after a significant disruption like a cyberattack or IT failure occurs. In essence, by simulating an IT failure or any other risk, you get the picture of how your system behaves if any component of your IT infrastructure becomes compromised or unavailable. Further, if the IT team detects inadequacies in your disaster recovery plan, they resolve them promptly before an actual disruption occurs. It’s worth noting, however, that disaster recovery testing isn’t only a preserve for the technical aspects of your IT. Rather, the best test also brings employees and other IT users on board, ensuring that everyone is committed to enhancing business continuity. Also, note that the DR test should be a frequent exercise, conducted at least annually at a minimum.

How Does a DR Test Work?

A DR test checks whether the backup works, and you can turn up the servers. But that’s not all; once the servers are turned up, it’s also critical to confirm that your organization’s users are prepared and organized to log in to the system and verify that all apps and services are working as expected. This allows your IT team to confirm that the restore process works and ascertain that the users accessing the system can ensure that everything functions optimally. On the flip side, if the team doesn’t attain the success of the disaster recovery exercise, i.e., they bumped into any issues, they work to mitigate that on the spot. In that case, your technology team will need to reschedule the DR test to ensure that every element of the disaster recovery in the backup scenario is functioning optimally and your organization can confirm the workability.

Why Does Your Organization Need Regular DR Testing?

Your insurer can compensate you for losses resulting from disasters like fires, hardware theft, cyberattack, etc. But when it comes to data losses, no insurance policy can come to your rescue. Instead, it’s up to your organization to develop an airtight disaster recovery plan and run regular tests to identify and seal all loopholes and weak links that may lead to data loss or other disruptive risks. That said, here are the top five reasons your business needs regular disaster recovery testing:

Stay in Business with Your Partners and Clients

Do you work with outside organizations, perhaps in an outsourced or contract manufacturing capacity? If so, you must have noticed most of these entities have become wearier of their security posture now more than ever. As such, it’s not surprising that they may ask you whether you have a DR plan before accepting to work with you. But it doesn’t stop there; they also want to know when was the last time you tested your DR and what the outcome was. So to ensure that you can always do business with such organizations, your IT firm usually prepares an in-depth report detailing every step and outcome of the test. That way, you can present that report to your partners, assuring them that you have what it takes to recover and resume operations should a disaster occur. This makes them comfortable to continue working with you, knowing that you won’t compromise their security posture.

Comply with Regulatory Requirements

Industries like healthcare, legal, manufacturing, financial services, logistics, etc., have strict compliance regulations that they must adhere to, lest they get penalized. And as you may have guessed, one of the requirements is that your organization has an up-to-date DR plan, which you can only guarantee through regular testing. Also, if you wish to bid for a federal agency contract, you must satisfy all NIST compliance requirements to be considered.

Opportunity to Learn from Previous Mistakes

Testing your DR regularly allows you to learn from your experience and improve your disaster recovery strategies every time. As time passes by, you’ll realize that every disaster recovery exercise is dissimilar from the previous one. So analyzing the trend throughout a specific period gives you deeper insight into your IT infrastructure. This allows you to point out what needs to be repaired, replaced, or discarded to improve security, reduce storage costs, enhance data protection, etc.

Avoid Reputation Damage

Preserving your impeccable reputation goes hand in hand with attracting and retaining more clients and partners, as we’ve discovered above. However, in the worst-case scenario that you suffer a disaster leading to the permanent loss of data belonging to your clients or partners, you also lose the reputation that you’ve fought tirelessly to build and preserve. Rebuilding the reputation is even more challenging because not so many people are patient to give second chances. Luckily, you can avoid taking that route by testing your DR regularly, ensuring that your IT infrastructure is flawless and optimized.

Avoid Costly Downtime

Every unutilized minute that passes due to business disruption caused by downtime translates to a substantial revenue loss. Put into more perspective, Gartner estimates that downtime costs organizations an average of $5,600 per minute or more than $300,000 per hour. Imagine losing that much money to downtime when it’s an issue you can avoid by having a top-quality backup and DR solution and ensuring that it works optimally through regular tests.

Baroan Technologies Can Help With Your Disaster Recovery Testing!

Are you in the market for a reliable cybersecurity solution firm to assist with critical functions like backing up your data, drafting an airtight DR plan, and conducting regular DR tests? If so, we can help! Baroan Technologies is a team of highly trained and self-motivated IT services and cybersecurity experts committed to assisting New Jersey businesses to overcome technology challenges through first-class solutions and expertise. So get in touch today to discover how we can help you optimize your IT infrastructure and enhance your security posture through regular DR tests.

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Written by Guy Baroan 
By: Guy Baroan