What is a Disaster Recovery Plan and Why Your Startup Needs One

10 Min Read • Apr 4, 2024

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Andreea Gherba

Product Manager

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Ensuring the stability of our products has always been at the forefront of our mission. Through a decade of developing a broad range of products, we've embraced the valuable lesson that despite our best efforts in preparation and proactive measures for system stability, incidents can occur. This insight has guided our efforts in recent years toward developing a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan. 

Tailored to fit the unique needs of each product at Tapptitude, this plan is a testament to our commitment to resilience, ensuring that we're always prepared to maintain the high-quality service our partners expect and deserve.

In light of this commitment, Tapptitude has crafted a Disaster Recovery infrastructure that stands ready to address any unforeseen incidents, ensuring minimal disruption and swift restoration of services. Our team is equipped with cutting-edge tools and follows best practices, allowing us to quickly identify, respond to, and recover from various scenarios with efficiency and precision. This proactive approach not only strengthens our system’s resilience, but also reinforces our promise to deliver uninterrupted service and quality products. 

1. What is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster Recovery refers to the comprehensive approach we take to foresee, prepare for, endure, and bounce back from any disaster that might impact the products we create. Within our framework, a "disaster" encompasses a variety of critical incidents, each of which would activate our Disaster Recovery Process:

  • Server Outage: When the backend servers hosting the application's data and services become unavailable due to hardware failures or network issues, rendering the entire system inaccessible to users.
  • Data Breach: A situation where sensitive user data is compromised, potentially exposing personal information, payment details, or login credentials to unauthorized individuals or hackers.
  • Performance Degradation: Sudden and severe performance bottlenecks, causing the application to slow down significantly or become unresponsive, leading to a poor user experience.
  • Application Crash: Frequent or widespread crashes of the mobile app, resulting in users being unable to use the application as intended.
  • Security Vulnerability: The discovery of a critical security vulnerability that could be exploited by malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to the system or manipulate its data.
  • Data Corruption: When critical data stored in databases becomes corrupted or lost, potentially causing disruptions in business operations or compromising data integrity.
  • Payment Processing Failure: In e-commerce applications, if the payment processing system fails during a high-traffic period, it can result in financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Server Overload: Excessive user traffic overwhelms the servers, leading to a system overload that can cause slowdowns or crashes. In these situations, a rapid and coordinated response is crucial to diagnose the problem, implement temporary workarounds if necessary, and resolve the issue to minimize downtime, protect user data, and maintain the trust of the application's users.

2. What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan empowers us to swiftly address incidents, allowing for immediate measures to minimize harm and expedite the resumption of operations. Our methodology and the steps to be undertaken in the event of a problem are precisely crafted to accommodate the diverse range of products and services we handle. 

We understand the significance of rapid response for our clients' businesses, their products, and the end-users. Adhering to this protocol ensures continuous enhancement of our response times, all while meticulously evaluating the technical and decision-making aspects critical for restoring system integrity.

3. Is a Disaster Recovery Team Necessary?

Our experience has proven that a disaster recovery team is necessary and more than just a "nice-to-have". A devoted and synergistic team, composed of specialists like Tech Stack experts and leaders actively engaged in product development, plays a pivotal role. This team ensures the disaster recovery process is seamlessly enacted from the initial critical alert through to the stages of issue identification, solution development, and system restoration.

The specialized team remains vigilant, on standby to oversee and initiate the Disaster Recovery process should an incident occur. Participants in various stages of this process typically include Product and Project Managers, Business Continuity Officers, Software Development Leads and Engineers, Department Leads, Quality Assurance Engineers, and Client Representatives.

Following Google’s Debugging Incidents Case Study,  we can classify incidents along the following dimensions and identify recurring patterns for each:

  • Scale and complexity. The larger the blast radius (i.e., its location(s), the affected systems, the importance of the user journey affected, etc.) of the problem, the more complex the issue.
  • Size of the responding team. As more people are involved in an investigation, communication channels among teams grow and tighter collaboration and handoffs between teams become even more critical.
  • Underlying cause. Team members are likely to respond to symptoms that map to six common underlying issues: capacity problems; code changes; configuration changes; dependency issues (a system/service my system/service depends on is broken); underlying infrastructure issues (network or servers are down); and external traffic issues. 

The overview of the responders' paths can be briefly outlined as follows:

Schita 2.jpg

* Journey inspired and adapted following  Google’s Debugging Incidents - Mapping responders' journey diagram

4. Is Continuous Testing Applied to Solutions?

For every challenge we encounter, our team is equipped to brainstorm a variety of creative solutions, selecting the most fitting one through a rigorous and well-defined process. This ensures that every solution we implement during the Disaster Recovery process is confirmed to effectively address the issue at hand. It’s a process designed to filter out theoretical solutions in favor of those that deliver tangible results.

Should a proposed solution fall short during testing, we view this as a valuable learning opportunity to refine our approach and enhance our strategies, ensuring a more robust solution is implemented in its place. 

Conversely, when we identify the perfect solution, it marks not just a triumph in system recovery, but also a step forward in our ongoing quest for efficiency. Every step of this process is recorded, providing us with a rich repository of knowledge. This not only aids in the immediate recovery but also in honing our procedures, improving response times, and ensuring that we are always equipped with the best solutions for any situation that arises. 

5. Maintaining Updated Disaster Recovery Plans

Within the realm of successful contingency planning, the power of regular testing and evaluation shines brightly. While Disaster Recovery Plans may appear robust on paper, their true efficacy is revealed only through practical application. 

At Tapptitude, we embrace this reality by engaging in realistic drills that not only test our plans but also provide invaluable insights. These exercises are golden opportunities to refine and enhance our strategies, ensuring they are not only efficient and clear, but also dynamically suited to meet the needs of everyone involved.

Our team takes ownership and shows initiative in keeping our Disaster Recovery Plans fresh and relevant, with a commitment to annual updates. This proactive approach ensures our strategies evolve in tandem with our growing needs.

Given the fluid nature of data processing operations, where changes in technology, programs, and protocols are the norm, it’s essential to treat our Disaster Recovery Plan as a living document. This mindset allows us to stay agile and responsive to new challenges, affirming our capability and readiness to adapt. 

6. Concluding with These Final Thoughts

In the dynamic landscape of Disaster Recovery, the speed at which our team acts is not just a metric of efficiency, but a cornerstone of our strategy. The ability to swiftly mobilize and implement solutions is crucial in minimizing downtime and ensuring our services remain reliable and available. Our team is focused on responding with urgency, leveraging their expertise and our well-practiced procedures to accelerate recovery efforts. This rapid response is integral to our commitment to stable products, ensuring that any disruption is brief and that our systems are restored with minimal impact.

This emphasis on speed does not compromise the quality of our solutions; rather, it enhances our ability to deliver effective results when they are most needed. By moving quickly, we not only recover systems efficiently but also demonstrate our dedication to service continuity and client trust. Our proactive approach and quick decision-making are pivotal in maintaining the high standards of service our clients expect. Through this, we reinforce Tapptitude's reputation as a reliable partner, capable of navigating any challenge with agility and confidence.

Geared Up To Create Products Where Stability Is Not Merely An Aim- It's A Promise?

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Andreea Gherba

Andreea Gherba

Product Manager

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