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Lessons Learned Case Study – Disaster Recovery Plan

Angie Stockley, VP of Marketing and Communications, ASC Posted: March 9, 2016
Written by Angie Stockley

Disaster Recovery Planning

A recent third-party partner incident highlighted the strength (ISO-certified quality procedures) and flexibility of ASC’s disaster recovery planning practices. ASC is sharing the incident below to illustrate our best practice capability and our lessons learned quality focus.

A planned data center provider’s UPS test during a weekend (normal procedure) resulted in an unexpected UPS failure causing a hard power down (full outage, full impact) for the whole data center for 15 minutes. As this data center is part of the ASC high availability, full redundancy focused data center network architecture, ASC's monitoring center was immediately alerted of the issue and standard Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) procedures instantly commenced. All data was recovered with no impact, however, the incident presented an opportunity for improvement. 

ASC prepared for the power coming back up with the on-call system admin, database admin and application admins and our standard disaster recovery procedures. Once the power came back online, ASC also took the opportunity to further test (all off hours) our full disaster recovery scenarios and processes and in doing so noticed some opportunities to improve our load balancing procedures and configuration. For instance, ASC noticed areas to improve communications to our storage devices and more evenly balance the applications on our hosts. ASC shut down the environment and brought each component back online in an orderly fashion to isolate the issue and took the opportunity (during a very quiet period) for our customers to also do more controlled testing to ensure the issue was fully understood. ASC then proceeded with starting up the applications again and re-balancing the host applications.

As a result of this lessons learned activity, an improvement to our application load balancing configuration -- on start up from a power failure scenario -- will be rolled out in to our next planned maintenance window.

For additional information, please contact us.

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Effective Disaster Recovery Planning

Disasters can’t always be avoided, even with the best planning and intentions. However, careful and considerate planning ensures any effects (e.g., data loss, business disruption, etc.) are properly minimized and mitigated should a disaster happen.

Every business needs a clear and strategic data privacy and data security plan covering how to anticipate and block threats and planning for any potential disaster scenarios -- scalable from the core cloud platform to the applications -- while ensuring appropriate data agility which is essential to the adaptability and success of any business.

ASC's disaster recovery plan (DRP) is an ISO-certified set of documented processes and procedures specific to the recovery and protection of IT infrastructure (e.g., facilities, data and assets) in the event of a disaster. ASC's DRP entails a comprehensive statement of orderly and consistent actions to be taken in preparation for (always ready) and in the event of a disaster. 

ASC's DRP objectives include quality-managed measures and controls focuses on:

  • Corporate-wide security governance
  • Compliance with all cloud security standards (e.g., SSAE, ISO, PCI, SSL, etc.)
  • Risk mitigation
  • Guaranteed system standby reliability
  • Testing standards for the DRP
  • Minimizing the number of decisions that need to be made during a disaster
  • Auditability and traceability
  • Minimizing liabilities
  • Customization for specific business needs (e.g., unique business requirements, industry-specific compliance requirements, etc.)
  • Maintaining a low-stress work environment

All of these objectives are focused on providing the customer with a solid sense of security -- that their data is fully protected from the cloud to the application, whether in transit or at rest.

For detailed information about ASC's data privacy, data security and disaster recovery practices and procedures, please contact us.

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