Where I live in the US the dark winter nights are brightened with colorful holiday lights this time of year. They look beautiful. Unfortunately some people find out the hard way that if one light goes out they all go out.
This happens when the bulbs are connected on a series circuit, but some higher-quality light strands come in a parallel circuit. This means that the lights at the end of the strand continue to get electricity even if a light bulb goes out or is broken.
Obviously this parallel path for holiday lights is preferred for convenience and continuity. For this same reason your enterprise applications should allow you to keep operating even if one application goes down.
Not only is it inconvenient but there are real costs involved if your systems go down. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute.
Do you have an end-to-end business continuity plan? Do your systems have a fallover option in place? Is your data backed up and can you restore it? Do you know who to contact after hours if there is a service disruption?
All of these should be questions you should solve and document in your disaster recovery plan. Writing it down is just the first step even the best written plans are not complete until you thoroughly test them.
I have been a part of several different types of Disaster recovery tests. Some are as simple as checklist reviews. Others have been full blown exercises that are Hollywood worthy recreations of disasters requiring teams to physically go out to the Disaster Recovery Site.
Since you should test your Disaster Recovery plan at least once a year it is common to get groans and complaints from staff members about it taking away valuable time from doing ‘real-work’. As IT leaders we need to do our part to dispel these attitudes and remind everyone that testing the plan is one of the most important things we can do. Make Disaster Recovery an important part of your culture by highlighting it in job descriptions, performance reviews and making it a key part of your development process.
With the proliferation of floods, wildfires, tornados and hurricanes in the news seemingly daily this should be a wake up call to everyone in IT about the importance of having a Disaster Recovery plan in place. With a well thought out, documented and tested plan in place you can be confident that if one system goes out they will not all go out.