Disasters. They’re unlikely, but they’re also by definition as close to a doomsday scenario as we would like to get. Even websites and infrastructure should have a disaster recovery plan, and that is what we’ll look at today.
Disaster recovery, or DR, is something that you will hopefully never have to actually action. Still, you will want to be prepared. It is irrational and ignorant to willfully ignore the chance that a chain of events leads to major downtime or a website defacement and you have to initiate your plan… if you have one. We’ll start brainstorming one here. As with many IT related disaster scenarios, we are going to start with the number one basic step:
Create and Store Backups
As you may have guessed, creating and keeping your own regular backups of your websites core files and configurations is critical for these situations. Your hosting provider may backup your data (we do), but their backups may not include all of the data that you were hoping for, and you may still be missing some pieces.
The solution is above. When you have your own backups, you can store them on safe computers, or entire physical drives kept separate from everything else. This is the most secure way and will ensure that you will be able to fairly quickly restore your website from a recent backup.
Create Procedures and Have a Plan
You wouldn’t weather a storm or other natural disaster without a plan, the same goes for your website. Your business should have a documented plan of action for when, for example, your website is unreachable. Here is an example plan if your website is suspected down:
- Check to see if the site is reachable from other computers and browsers
- Contact your hosting provider for their diagnosis
- Look in your website’s files, have you made any recent changes that could cause incompatibility? Are there bugs in code that was written that was recently upgraded to production?
- If it is critical to restore your site for the business, restore from a recent, uncorrupted backup
You will also want to categorize the potential disasters. There could be a software bug, a threat actor hacking your website, a DDOS attack, or even a natural disaster where the physical servers are located.
One last piece to have on hand in DR situations is a contact list. These would include a technical contact, the owner of the site, the hosting provider, etc.
This is a simple rundown of the kinds of things you will want to think about before you have an actual disaster strike. Having a preparedness mindset is important and will save you money and headache if and when the time comes to use your plans.