3 Steps to Establish a Reliable Recovery Plan for Your Next ColdFusion Project

December 26, 2019
Host CF Alive podcast, founder CFUnited, CEO TeraTech
Wizard 44 posts
Followers: 15 people

3 Steps to Establish a Reliable Recovery Plan for Your Next ColdFusion Project

Host CF Alive podcast, founder CFUnited, CEO TeraTech
Wizard 44 posts
Followers: 15 people
December 26, 2019

You, me and everyone else hated seeing this thing!

By Original uploader was Praseodymium at en.wikipedia — Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Reader781 using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4335321

I’ve heard countless groans, curses, and outright fits started by the BSoD. It was the absolute bane of our collective existence for over a decade.

But the blue screen had one positive effect. As more and more people lost their work, and disaster recovery plans became the norm.

In this article, you will learn:

  1. Why you should check your backups regularly.
  2. How to set up a recovery plan.
  3. How to create a backup-friendly mentality within your team.

Let’s talk about it!

Check your backups before it’s too late

Backups and recovery plans are the fire extinguishers of the tech world. If you need one, you better hope it works. You don’t want a spreading fire to be your reminder to check if the extinguisher is charged and ready to use.

The same goes for backups and recovery plans. You have to be sure they will work ahead of time.

For in-house backups, that means identifying what parts of the company’s data is on which backup location. That could be either a single disk or an entire server.

Those using data centers or some other service may include automated backups as part of their offerings. Some backup a web server, others a data server. Brunt suggests you see all the details in the fine print.

If you’re shouting “Do we have a backup?”, it’s already too late. Plan ahead!

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A professional disaster recovery plan eliminates panic when everything seems to be on the fritz. The recovery plan is your roadmap out of a total breakdown.

  1. Inventories all hardware and software, vital or trivial.
  2. Follows the company’s priorities. It will restore key components necessary to keep the essential operations functioning.
  3. Predicts scenarios where key components of a system fail individually, in unison, or in random groupings.
  4. Minimizes costly outages, and delegates tasks.
  5. Restores components in a logical fashion. For example: hardware necessary to keep data flowing gets top priority, and further down the line.

Be sure to create the recovery plan in collaboration with your company’s business continuity plan.

How to create a reliable recovery plan

Every recovery plan, like every company, is unique. There are no universal plans to copy-paste. But your plan should have three goals in mind:

  • Averting disaster altogether, by creating a fail-proof system of backups and other safety mechanisms.
  • Discovering failures in real-time, rather than waiting for the whole system to collapse. This could mean regular check-ups or routine tests to find new threats or weaknesses in the company’s infrastructure.
  • Correcting whatever the failure was to bring systems back to their normal state and recovering from the disaster.

How does a company get to this point?

Creating a recovery plan requires a team effort, with several members designated specific roles. When working in tandem, these team members can help focus efforts and coordinate the overall creation of the plan.

You will need:

Ideally, your recovery plan will have an accurate “worst-case scenario” map leading to a preselected RTO and RPO. This means backups must be coordinated and set to target specific data and apps. And team members must be in tune and ready to execute as the plan requires.

Before building the step-by-step process that’ll become your disaster recovery plan, you must:

  • Assess your company’s IT systems and infrastructure.
  • Start with a top-to-bottom audit of both hardware and software, from surge protectors to cooling fans. Every department should have a guru who specializes in a certain chunk of your company’s IT machine.
  • Seek out weaknesses, whether they be dicey code or nuts-and-bolts problems such as power cables and surge protectors.
  • Fix any immediate dangers or looming headaches. For example an aging server in need of an update.
  • Make note of areas where your infrastructure is likely to fail. A list of suspect areas will make diagnostics easier in case of a failure.
  • Make sure every group within the company chooses its own top-priorities within the recovery plan.
  • Collect and inventory all data which must be included in the recovery.

Once these three key data points are collected, one can start building a recovery plan. Assume, first, a worst-case scenario. Assign one for every department within the company. (A total disaster for IT and accounting are vastly different, I promise).

Then make sure the backups are adequate and reflect those priorities. Be sure the step-by-step process is checked by all the necessary department heads, to ensure nothing important is left out.

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Originally published at https://teratech.com on December 26, 2019.

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