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Disaster Recovery

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Continuity of a business with minimal drawbacks and inefficiencies is a crucial consideration by varied organizations and companies. Other than business-oriented organizations, all institutions would wish to have minimal alterations or disruptions from their operations at all cost. However, in cases of disasters, it becomes difficult to prevent massive destruction due to the fact that it is sometimes difficult to predict a disaster. Therefore, salvaging the necessary and critical operational and maintenance data pertaining to the institution have to be properly and timely planned. In this respect, disaster preparedness becomes not an option but a must.

Disasters refer to events that result in massive destruction of institution’s properties and data. Due to unpredictability and the magnitude of the disaster, salvaging data and resources becomes almost unachievable. Consequently, there has to be an easier, faster, and more effective formula of recovering information. Technologically, effects of a disaster can be categorized into three classes: failure of file or files, metadata corruption, and complete disaster (Newman, 2011). The complexity of preventing these disasters thus depend on the cause of the disaster and the magnitude of destruction. Ideally, the process of securing information and data in an organization is referred to as disaster recovery, contingency planning, or continuity planning.

Developing a disaster recovery is arched on several factors, which determines the success of the plan and the scale, type and cost of the plan. The first consideration is assessing the type of disasters that can inflict the institution’s sites (Limoncelli, Hogan & Chalup, 2007). For instance, some places are more prone to natural disasters associated with weather changes than others. Such disasters include hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes, among others. On the same note, terrorism is a threat to some institutions more than others. Secondly, it is crucial to predetermine likelihood durations that these disasters may strike. This will potentiate adoption of sound precautions necessary to save the institution.

The third concern is the duration taken to reinstall the lost data for fast resumption into normalcy of institution’s operations (Newman, 2011). This, of all the factors, is the core determinant of the best disaster recovery plan adopted by institutions. Operations need to commence within the shortest time possible after the disruption from a disaster to ensure that the institution continues to serve its customers. This will reduce the risk of losing customers, employees, and crucial stakeholders such as investors in the institution. In addition, cost involved in the implementation of the recovery plan counts a lot in minimizing escalated maintenance cost.  Finally, the plan has to be updated to ensure validity of the data (Limoncelli, Hogan, & Chalup, 2007).

The ultimate precautions for disaster recovery plan are geared towards maintaining fully functional versions that can be installed; thus, restore the operations of the institution in cases where the primary versions crumble. With the increased access to online data and the fast growing technology, risks of technology disasters attributed to human errors or hacking are growing day after the other. Institutions data that require safeguard measures can be categorized into three components: archive data, operational data, and transaction data (Nolan, 2011). The propensity of business collapsing is increased by inadequate business data recovery in the three components.  The growing regulation demand, in data privacy, leaves no chances in optimizing the security and recovery of the data.

Disaster recovery plans adopted to take into considerations aspects of data integrity, system recovery, employees’ protection and linkage. The authenticity and confidentiality of the data stored should be respected in the adopted disaster recovery choice adopted. This will enhance not only the integrity of the data, but also the institution as well. The contingency plan needs to ensure that the data saved is safe at a higher degree than the primary data. The two different versions should not be exposed to equal risks at any one time. The main idea in continuity planning is to ease and facilitate adequate data recovery from the secondary store (Nolan, 2011). Therefore, the ability to retrieve and use saved data counts a lot in success measures of the disaster recovery plan. In addition, the workforce should be able to carry on their functions with the retrieved data with minimal hardship (Nolan, 2011). Furthermore, connectivity or the linkage of the information and data recovered is also crucial.

Continuity planning starts with identification of the crucial and essential data that are needed to keep the institution running, as well as its degree of currency. After identification of the critical data, a strategy of communicating disaster strike to employees and the customers need to be formulated. After this step, implementers should evaluate through testing the available options of disaster recovery plans in an attempt of settling at the most appropriate choice. The appropriate option is then zeroed in and plans to institute it propagated.  The redundant versions should be accessed from different angles to enhance recovery process. Ideally, continuity plans should ensure that there is an off-site storage and data back-up. It is also imperative to ensure that recovery point objective (RPO) is properly established. Other than providing back-up folders for institutions data, it is also critical to establish back-up system for employees’ computers (Nolan, 2011). 

One of the most applied and institutionalized disaster recovery mechanisms is the Seven Tiers mechanism. This approach eases the process of identifying levels of business operations and the potential risks. The strategy is branched into 8 levels from Tier 0 to Tier 7. Tier 0 represents those businesses that have not instituted any disaster recovery plan. Chances of such a business retrieving any information and reviving the business after a disaster are almost zero. In cases of a disaster, the business will have to institute new measures from ground zero. In Tier 1, business backup and redundant versions are stored in an off-site location with no systems data recovery system. Data are transported in a Pick-up Truck Access Method (PTAM). In this scenario, reviving the business or the institution takes days. Tier 2 is an advance of Tier one in that other than storing the information in an off-site location, information is also stored on tapes (Limoncelli, Hogan, & Chalup, 2007). Examples of these off-line backup remedies that fall under Tier 1 and 2 include Server-Less Backup, Split Mirroring and SNAP/SHOT. Tier 1 and Tier 2 share a characteristic of physical data transportation while in Tier 3 data are electronically vaulted, bringing onboard the advantage of sound and fast update of the information stored. Tier 4 is linked to the benefit of consistent update and storage of high frequency recovery data. The possibility of recovering currency data is potentiated at this level. The business is capable of generating point in-time (PiT) copies of electronically vaulted backup (Kern & Peltz, 2003).

As the need of on point data recovery increases, business adopts Tiers that are higher in the rank. Tier 5 offer a business the advantage of optimized transaction integrity (Limoncelli, Hogan & Chalup, 2007). Tier 6, on the other hand, embraces several backup plans using measures that do not tolerate data loss. The different approaches enable the business to restore operations with almost immediate effect after the disaster. The adopted disaster recovery plans have varying Recovery Points and Time. Techniques adopted in this Tier include Disk and Tape Mirroring. Examples of this include Hitachi HARC and IBM PtP Remote Copy (Kern & Peltz, 2003). Finally, Tier 7 has all the incorporated frameworks for Tier 6, improved through automation. This necessitates abrupt recovery of the lost data (Kern & Peltz, 2003).   

In conclusion, disaster recovery plan is aimed at maintaining continuity of business operations even after a disastrous occurrence in the institution’s network system. The plan is aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the data, protecting institution’s reputation, and avoiding losses due to interruption of business operations and loss of core stakeholders. 

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