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Quick questions to test your disaster recovery planning!

It’s top of your list of nightmares: the IT fails and you lose all of your files, contacts and data. All student work is gone, nobody can log in to a computer, communication breaks down and the school grinds to a halt.  Through the panic, you discover that the Disaster Recovery Plan was never finished and you're facing a long and painful rebuild to return systems to normal.

The day to day operation of any school these days is heavily dependent upon the technical ‘backend’. This includes storage for all student and staff files, all the data you can think of, your  VLE,  all the wireless networks, your ability to print….. the list goes on. These all tend to be things that most users are not necessarily aware of and, while all is running smoothly, don’t really need to know about. But what if any, or all, of these systems went wrong? Do you know how long it would take to get back up and running? Can you even be certain that you’d get everything back and how long it would be before people return to work?

Ensuring that your IT support team have an up to date, suitable, Disaster Recovery Plan is critical to ensuring continuity of the school’s systems and to avoiding massive data loss. Not only does the IT Support team need such a plan, but they also need the resources, procedures and skills in order to make it happen when disaster strikes. The following questions will help you begin to evaluate what stage the team have reached in their defence against a nightmare scenario:

  • Documentation – Is the documentation your team currently possesses accurate and up to date for your systems? Does the documentation exist at all? Is it stored in a central location? Who is aware of this location? Who has access to it?
  • Disaster Recovery Plan – Is there an existing Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan? Does it cover everything you need? Is it still relevant from when it was written? How often is it reviewed, and who is responsible for it? Has it been tested?
  • Backups – What backup solution is in use? When was it last tested? Exactly what data is being backed up? If a particular server or service failed, to what level of restoration would your current backup solution provide? Where are your backups held? What are the timescales for restoring any one particular server or service from this location? Is your network/internet connection capable of transferring large amounts of data quickly?
  • Redundancy – Have any of your systems been configured in a way that they can automatically cope with the loss of one or more servers? Has this ever been tested? If it is not in place, can it be configured?
  • People & Communication  – Who is capable of carrying out the Disaster Recovery process? What if that person leaves or is unavailable? Is there a clear communication strategy in place if there are significant system outages? Are any of your systems maintained by third parties? Are they included in the plan? Are you aware of the constraints within their SLAs?

If you can’t answer all of the above with confidence, it’s time to take a good look at your systems and documentation, in order to understand the true impact of a disaster situation.

9ine works alongside many schools as a trusted partner, ensuring they are able to recover their data and get their systems back online rapidly, should disaster strike. Get in touch to learn more.