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Unless your company is regulated, it can be daunting to determine how to start a disaster recovery program. As well high value of a disaster recovery program can turn alot of companies off.  I often hear a disaster recovery solution defined as an insurance policy - but if used correctly and with purpose, the disaster recovery solutions can actually benefit the production environment.

I always tell people that the disaster recovery solution supports the business, so start with the business process.  Technology should never define what is required by the business, however, technology understands how the various systems are implemented, system and third-party dependencies and how to best fail from production and disaster recovery.

The difference is that only the business can define what is critical to the business or not.  So, the first thing is to really understand the business process and how that process is supported by technology and by manual effort.

This can take some time, but it results in a more refined disaster recovery solution, a solution that can be financially managed and expand as the business grows.

Tip to the already wise: You are building a disaster solution to ensure that the business can either continue after an approved amount of time or never stop running;e g. be resilient.  With this in mind, do not initially use DR to better the production environment.  It will just drag out the deployment of the disaster recovery environment and not be there when an incident occurs.

Focus on building out a phase 1 or temporary solution so that the business may continue.  Do not wait to build this temporary or phase 1 solution.  I've seen too many companies fail the business because they used the disaster exercise as a redesign of the production environment.  The business that we support deserves better.  Be ready and then grow the final solution based on agreements with the business, the cost and what, if any, production redesign may support a more refined environment. 

Andrea Houtkin