A disaster recovery (DR) plan is critical for any business. It's what will help you get your operation back up and running quickly after a disaster strikes. But how do you know if your DR plan is strong enough to ensure your application can be restored quickly and completely? And can you be sure that your cloud provider alone can help with the recovery process?

To be able to answer these questions, firstly you need to know what makes a good DR strategy, which includes the five points listed below. Then you need to make sure that your team has the right tools in place to give you peace of mind during this stressful time. We'll explore all this—and more—below.

Disaster recovery: What is it and what do you need to know?

A disaster recovery plan is the process of getting your business back up and running after a disaster strikes. If you’ve ever been without power for more than a few hours, you know how frustrating it can be to try to function without access to electricity, heat, or water, things you take for granted while the going's good. A disaster in business can mean a loss of revenue, reputation, or both, so a solid DR plan is essential.

Disaster recovery plans are designed to help businesses get back to regular operation as quickly as possible after a major event like a system or regional outage, or something far more unexpected like an earthquake or fire that has destroyed a data center. The idea behind these plans is simple: Ensure you have access to a step by step plan which you and your team can calmly follow in the event of a disaster. This will ensure that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done to get your business back up on its feet again quickly!

Each step should also have supporting documentation to cover the various issues that might be encountered. During DR, time is of the essence and if a step cannot be executed you need a quick workaround or resolution to get moving again. While a DR plan should be very simple, it should also be backed by much more comprehensive information.

How can a third-party provider ease the stress of disaster recovery?

In the event of a disaster, many companies are left wondering how to get up and running again. You may have a plan in place for when it comes time to recover your data, but if you don’t have the cloud resource specification fully documented, or the experience necessary to execute this plan yourself, it can be difficult to know who can help you, and difficult to get their time without a pre agreed recovery assignment.

This is where third-party providers come in. If you don’t want to hire employees dedicated to this role, and don’t want to pull your existing team away from their important business responsibilities, third-party providers can step in to map out your current infrastructure, document it in an easy to read format and put a detailed, step by step DR plan in place for you. They can also be on-hand in the event of a disaster, so you know that should the worst happen, there will be a friendly voice to guide you through it. This dramatically reduces headaches for you, and prevents spiralling costs when it comes time for recovery services to step in after a data loss event has occurred.

What tools are available to support a modern disaster recovery plan?

With IAC (Infrastructure as Code) all of your cloud infrastructure can be documented as code and maintained by your dev/ops team. And while this is exactly what you need for disaster recovery, it also ensures that the application and the infrastructure plan can be released as a single deployable package. No more “it worked on my machine!”.

There are many IAC tools available, with the most common cloud providers offering their own. For example:

  • Terraform
  • Google Cloud Deployment Manager
  • AWS CloudFormation
  • Azure Blueprints (in PREVIEW, at time of writing)

5 things to include in your disaster recovery plan

  1. A step by step document detailing how to bring back all your cloud resources and data
  2. Scheduled time for regular (we recommend monthly) back up checks, to ensure the backups are being created as expected
  3. Regular (automated) comparisons between your IAC and your cloud resources
  4. Contact details of the third party, if applicable, and cloud service account manager
  5. Privileges to (or details of someone who has privileges to) spin up the desired resources and recover from a backup

Why the cloud is the cornerstone of a modern disaster recovery plan

If you're looking to implement a DR plan, the cloud is the cornerstone of your program. Cloud providers can offer local redundancy, or for the more risk averse, geo-redundancy for those mission critical applications and data. Cloud providers also offer:

24 hour support: All of the top cloud providers offer 24 hour support (at a cost) with extremely attractive SLAs. Although it may seem expensive, the cost of this can pale in comparison to trying to build your own out-of-hours support team, who all have the knowledge, experience, and availability to travel to data centers and fix problems in the event of a disaster

Scalability: Although scalability doesn’t scream ‘Disaster Recovery’, disasters come in many forms, and during peak times heavy traffic can take down even the most well prepared applications. Having scalability in mind from the start can prevent an outage during those essential peak periods. The ability to scale up or down quickly means that companies don't have to invest large amounts of capital on infrastructure until they absolutely need them (and if they do require more resources than anticipated at any point, those investments can be made).

A business does not have to be huge to require DR

Small businesses can benefit from DR in many ways. The idea is that with a shift of mindset, you can build DR into your existing dev workflow, and reap the benefits of DR without requiring an additional up-front cost. Knowing that you’re covered in the event of a disaster, can mean that when those inevitable accidents happen you can pull certain parts from your disaster recovery plan to bring back the affected system.


With the right knowledge and preparations, you can prepare for disaster. The best way to do this is to have a plan.

Assuming that you're reading this in relative comfort and not in the face of a disaster, now is the time to act. Now is the time to plan for that disaster!

Click here to contact Estrato and see what we can do to protect your business today.