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Tighten up work recovery time for successful disaster recovery
The best strategy for reducing work recovery time windows is done before the need arises. Proactive disaster recovery planning is key to being as prepared as possible.
Recovery point and time objectives are widely recognized metrics in disaster recovery, but work recovery time doesn't always have the same reach. While they don't get as much hype, work recovery time windows are an essential metric to DR planning.
Work recovery time (WRT) is the maximum tolerable amount of time a DR team has to verify that systems and data protection are online and operational. WRT is the phase after mission-critical data and operations are restored, when the organization must focus on getting back to business as usual. If organizations do not meet this window, it can result in significant financial loss. Some regulated industries, such as banking and healthcare, can incur penalties and fines.
This window will vary for every organization, but the shorter the WRT, the less of an impact on business.
How to cut down work recovery time
There are a few ways to reduce WRT. One of the most effective is to rank how critical the applications and tasks are and concentrate on those with the greatest impact first.
Some lower priority applications may have a WRT that will take days because their impact is, for instance, internal only and not really considered key. A time recording application is one such example.
Time recording could be done on paper and entered at a later date; this would be of no significant impact. However, if time recording is key for billing purposes or revenue generation, it may be higher priority at different organizations. Meanwhile, a task such as reactivating and testing communications may be of higher priority. It comes down to ranking those applications and their importance to the individual business.
Part of reducing the WRT is having mitigation strategies in place to reduce or lessen the effects of an outage or failure. These strategies must be built into a disaster recovery plan ahead of time so the DR team has a roadmap to get things up and running smoothly.
Don't forget to test
One of the most necessary but neglected areas in disaster recovery is thorough regular component testing. This may sound obvious, but testing large applications with many dependencies will highlight issues that may hamper recovery time objectives. Frequent issues include firewall problems, routing in DR environments and application dependencies that businesses have overlooked.
The ability to rapidly and correctly deploy applications can make all the difference in work recovery times, and frequent testing of those elements ensure that they continue to work as needed. A lot of companies overlook the need for frequent testing, but applications are dynamic and can change dependencies frequently.
Ensuring staff know and understand what is expected of them to help recovery efforts is critical to an effective DR plan. Work recovery time must take into account different departments and even employees located in different time zones. It is not always enough to know that systems are online or data is recovered; organizations must build time into a recovery strategy to test and verify that these things are working correctly and are available to those that need them. This will reduce work recovery times and enable organizations to get operations up and running as soon as possible.