If you ever want to see a blank look, ask your average IT manager what would happen to their servers, or indeed their entire datacentre, if the building in which it was hosted burned down or was destroyed in a massive earthquake. An alarming percentage of them will have no answer.
Disaster (Recovery) Planning is a critical and frequently overlooked part of running a service, whether it is a web application or something else (including the day-to-day operations of your business). It is a collection of documents or procedures (that have been rehearsed) for dealing with the questions that arise when one of the following happens:
While many people do not like to talk about disasters and attacks, the hard reality is that such things do occur. Fortunately, it is rare. However, businesses can often not afford the downtime that an event of such magnitude would cause if they were unprepared. A business that makes millions of dollars a day would be devastated if its web applications were shut down for over a week while people unfamiliar with the setup worked to get the systems up and running again.
By preparing for these events, anticipating them with clear plans of action, and rehearsing some of the more critical portions, a little financial investment can save the business from disastrous losses when the real problem strikes.
Some of the things we might do to help us with disaster planning and recovery include