Steven Rodin, Chief Executive Officer at Storagepipe Solutions (, says:

How often should data center and IT managers test their disaster plans?

The only effective way to test a disaster plan is through simulation. This should be done at least once per year. And when you test, you should also try different scenarios:

• What if the CEOs laptop was stolen… and it contained important data? (Try to retrieve data that was saved on a local hard drive instead of the main file server… even if that hard drive has disappeared)
• What if HR needed to retrieve 6 years worth of old files for a wrongful dismissal suit? (How long would it take you search through 6 years of historical email and locate all conversations relating to a specific topic, theme or incident?)
• How quickly can you recover a critical server in the event of power failure causing disk failure? (How quickly can you re-build a server from bare metal?)
• If the datacenter caught fire, how much downtime would the company have to endure before coming back online? How long would this take? (How long would it take you to set up a new server at another location on a moment’s notice?)

Corporate data protection is very complex. You have to deal with many different systems (email, databases, operating systems, laptops, compliance, high-availability, etc…) and each of these requires a different disaster protection approach.

The best advice would be to pick a partner that offers many different types of business data protection solutions, and to have them put together a tailored disaster recovery plan based on your IT needs. When you work through a trusted vendor for all of your backup, recovery and availability systems, it simplifies your IT management and reduces or eliminates the possibility of overlap, waste or system conflicts.