Why you should have a disaster recovery testing plan in place

Last updated:March 2017

Editor's note

You've created a thorough, efficient and reliable disaster recovery plan that will protect your organization's data from potential disasters, ranging from weather-related outages to ransomware. That means you're done, right? Not exactly.

The next big step should be implementing a disaster recovery testing plan that ensures your recovery efforts work correctly and meet expectations. Disaster recovery testing can clue you in if the plan isn't meeting recovery point objective/recovery time objective requirements, and enable you to make the necessary changes to get things back up and running quickly. A DR test can also point out vulnerabilities that may need to be addressed.

How frequently you need to test will differ from company to company, but experts agree that regular DR testing is the best way to validate a disaster recovery plan and keep it up to date. Some organizations may test once a year and find that sufficient, depending on their environment. But it's important to make time for testing when there are changes to the infrastructure that could affect the recovery process.

When considering the benefits of DR plan testing, you might wonder what could keep an organization from regular testing. In the past, disaster recovery testing could be a much more laborious, invasive process that involved outages during testing. However, the wide range of recovery tools available today means there is little effect on operations during testing.

With the links below, gain a better understanding of why a disaster recovery testing plan is important, how to conduct your testing efforts, and some tools and terms that you will encounter along the way. We've also included some free, downloadable templates to guide you through the process from start to finish. 

1Streamline the testing process

Now that you're settled in for testing, there are a number of best practices and tips for conducting the process in a way that works best for your organization. The links below offer advice for building a comprehensive disaster recovery testing plan or strengthening the one you have.

2Tools that can help

Testing a DR plan doesn't have to be a chore. There are a number of technologies available that can help ease the process and make testing a breeze.

3Put these practices to use

Download our free templates to see outlines for testing and planning scenarios. Each template provides a thorough outline of what to do to prepare for a data disaster, but can be customized to suit your organization.

4Related terms to know

If you're still a little unsure about some of the technologies or processes referenced in this guide, or just looking for a refresh, this glossary of common terms can help.