Disaster Recovery Testing (Applications)

Disaster Recovery Testing (Applications) - There are many physical and natural threats to a computer environment. Even though your application may have a high degree of security built in, it may still be susceptible to a disaster that affects your entire environment.

These vulnerabilities range from terrorist threats (especially for data centers in certain parts of the world) to floods to fires to computer viruses to malicious damage caused by employees.

You could ask what would happen to your shiny new application if a fire destroyed the computer center.

Yes, the system tapes can be recovered, but can your application be recovered successfully as well? Disaster Recovery Testing is designed to see whether your application can be recovered successfully in an alternate environment.

The procedures you establish will be the basis for periodic disaster recovery testing throughout the life of the system. The things you want to test for include:

  • Ensuring that the environment and operating systems can be recovered in a reasonable time period.
  • Validating that all solution databases and files are backed and recoverable at a consistent point in time
  • Determining if you can recover transactions from the time the backup tapes were created up to the current moment. For instance, if the disaster occurs on Thursday, but your offsite backup tapes are from last Friday, can you recover all the transactions from Friday to today?
  • Test that your security is still in place in the recovery environment. For instance, there may be server-specific certificates that will not work on the recovery servers.
  • Test your disaster recovery documentation. Make sure that there is sufficient information for a third party to recover the solution. Remember that you may not be involved in or available for the recovery, and another person may need to recover the system based on the written instructions.
  • Validate that databases and files from other applications or vendors can also be recovered and that they can be synched up with the rest of your system.

Obviously, this is a specialized test, and it is a type of insurance in case a disaster hits. If it is absolutely critical that your application be available, you probably want to do a form of this test, even if it is simulated instead of a live recovery.

If you do not have the right duplicate facility for the disaster recovery testing (you may have a live disaster facility but not one you can use for testing), you may need to do a table-top exercise and get the team together to see if you think you have what you need for recovery.

Discovery Project

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