Over the years, the Eze Castle Disaster Recovery team has observed some common misconceptions that clients have regarding disaster recovery. Some of the major areas where we see confusion include disaster recovery system testing, documentation review, communication procedures and the importance of business continuity plans.
Our goal is always to help educate our clients so that they can improve their internal processes and be better prepared for disasters. So, to that end, I’d like to take this opportunity to clear up a few of the most common DR misconceptions to ensure that your fund is fully prepared to maintain normal business operations in the event of an outage.
Misconception #1: DR system testing is unnecessary.
All firms that have a disaster recovery site need to test it regularly. Eze Castle Integration routinely recommends quarterly testing for all clients so that users can become familiar and comfortable working within the DR environment. Testing also helps ensure the DR site meets the firm’s current business needs (which typically evolve over time) and provides an opportunity for the client to review its most current site documentation.
We find that each client requires changes to their production environments as they develop and grow their business. Likewise, the DR site needs to evolve to continuously meet business requirements. By regularly testing your DR site, you can help ensure it meets your firm’s needs during a disaster. Failing to test the system regularly could leave your fund vulnerable to a disaster, as the DR site may not meet current business requirements, and therefore, users may not have the ability to continue normal operations.
Misconception #2: DR documentation is not necessary to read until a disaster strikes.
Often times, we find that clients fail to thoroughly review the documentation that is provided to them with their quarterly tests. This can pose a serious risk to a firm for the following reasons:
During a disaster, the firm may realize that users do not fully understand the documentation. At that time, it may be too late and they may experience harmful downtime.
The firm may miss or overlook key changes that have been made to the DR site (contact information for authorized activators, users, application versions, replication paths, etc.).
It is always important for all organizations to review their DR documentation in detail and ensure that all information is accurate. Be sure to ask your provider questions about anything you do not understand – don’t wait until a disaster strikes!
Misconception #3: Third-party vendor communication is not a crucial aspect of DR.
In order for a DR solution to function and be maintained properly it is important to have an open line of communication between all third-party vendors. Firms should be sure that all of their vendors are aware that they have a DR solution in place and that the DR provider is permitted to communicate to each vendor directly on their behalf to coordinate DR efforts. Firms should also be sure to have the necessary contracts in place with each vendor to cover the DR site in the event of application upgrades, patches, testing and activation support. Many of our clients tend to overlook this aspect of their solution, which can cause unnecessary delays and other challenges.
Misconception #4: We have a DR solution in place, so we do not need a business continuity plan.
Clients commonly make the mistake of believing that their DR site equates to a sufficient business continuity plan (BCP). Although a typical DR solution addresses the server infrastructure side of a client’s business, it does not necessarily incorporate the operational aspects. Without a business continuity plan in place, firms will experience significant bumps in the road during a disaster. We recommend that all clients work with a certified BCP professional to develop and document a comprehensive continuity plan for their organizations. It is also crucial for the fund’s leaders to circulate the completed BCP to all employees, vendors and investors so that everyone understands the procedures they must adhere to in the event of a disaster. Effective business continuity plans are extremely important in helping to protect companies from suffering costly outages.
For more on hedge fund disaster recovery and business continuity planning, check out our “Establishing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans—A Hedge Fund Manager's Guide” or contact Eze Castle Integration to speak with one of our disaster recovery experts or certified business continuity planners about best practices.
Also, don’t miss these great Hedge IT articles for more on DR and BCP for investment firms: