Essential Guide

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Why you should have a disaster recovery testing plan in place

If you're implementing a DR strategy, but are thinking about skipping the disaster recovery testing plan phase, think again. This guide dives into why the testing process is vital, and how it strengthens DR efforts.


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. 


Do I need to test my DR plan?

Short answer? Yes. For the longer answer, check out the links below. Chief among the benefits of testing is the ability to ensure your plan is working, but that's far from the only reason to run a test of your DR plan. When done properly, a disaster recovery testing plan can keep your recovery strategy updated and even prevent major outages in the future.


It's best not to skip out on disaster recovery testing

Without testing, all the disaster recovery planning in the world might not mean much. Along with proving that a plan works, tests help gauge how the system reacts to infrastructure changes. Continue Reading


DR testing could help prepare you for outages

Testing your disaster recovery plan is a preventative measure. A thorough disaster recovery testing process could help you stay proactive in the face of disaster. Continue Reading


Adapt to changing infrastructure easier

Changing virtual storage environments mean the disaster recovery planning process also has to change. Regular testing aids in coping with such changes. Continue Reading


If you're going to test, do it correctly

If testing a disaster recovery plan is important, then adequately testing it is vital. An alarming number of organizations don't do it correctly. Read how to avoid those same mistakes. Continue Reading

2Best practices-

Streamline 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.


Don't forget to test your ransomware recovery plan

Ransomware is a major threat to organizations today, so having a recovery plan in place is of the utmost importance. Here we explain how to test a ransomware recovery plan and take that extra step to safeguard your data. Continue Reading


How testing leads to a better cloud DR plan

In order to have an effective cloud disaster recovery plan, an organization should have a complete strategy for effectively getting data to the cloud, determining when a disaster has taken place, and recovering that data. However, without testing, all that planning might be for naught. Continue Reading


Five steps for successful SMB ransomware recovery

When planning a potential recovery from ransomware, testing is vital. This can be even truer for SMBs, which tend to be more susceptible to ransomware attacks. Even with a tighter budget, discovery recovery plan testing should be a high priority for an SMB. Continue Reading


15 top tips for your DR test plan

This disaster recovery testing plan checklist will greatly improve your ability to get back up and running after a disruptive event. Continue Reading


DR planning in a nutshell: Prepare, prepare, test, test

Testing is one of the most important disaster recovery planning best practices, but is also one of the most overlooked. Continue Reading


Conducting a tabletop exercise for DR testing

Independent disaster recovery expert Paul Kirvan discusses whether a tabletop exercise is sufficient for DR testing, as well as issues that tabletop exercises should address. Continue Reading


Disaster recovery planning checklist

Use this list of basic best practices as a reference when working on your disaster recovery testing plan to avoid common mistakes. Continue Reading

3On the market-

Tools 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.


DR product purchase criteria includes proper testing

Enterprises value certain disaster recovery tools more than others, and many don't test their DR plans nearly as much as they should. Continue Reading


Watch your DRaaS: Quick tips for cloud DR testing

Explore this checklist of best practices for cloud disaster recovery plan testing. Testing is just as important for DRaaS as it is for legacy DR. Continue Reading


DR software among technologies that ease testing

The disaster recovery testing process can be time-consuming and expensive. Discover how server virtualization, DR software and cloud computing have made it feasible and cost-effective. Continue Reading


DR testing technology options

Disaster recovery testing can be an onerous task, but several technologies can improve your disaster recovery testing plan and encourage future tests. Continue Reading


Simplify disaster recovery testing with DRaaS

Disaster recovery as a service makes testing a DR plan too easy to overlook -- the opposite of traditional, self-managed business continuity and disaster recovery facilities. Continue Reading

4Templates -

Put 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.


IT DR template: A free download and guide

This disaster recovery (DR) plan template offers step-by-step procedures to restore disrupted systems and applications to recover quickly from a disaster. Continue Reading


Data center disaster recovery plan template

Download our free data center disaster recovery plan template and read our guide on disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Continue Reading


BC/DR testing templates

These business continuity and disaster recovery testing templates provide a concise methodology to deploy BC/DR plans and tests. Continue Reading


Related 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.

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