To maintain a fool-proof disaster recovery plan, it’s important to test your standby system regularly through the process of a switchover. And if your busy web company has to take time to do this it would benefit you to find a way to multitask. I read an article recently on ways to use the isolated environment offered by DR for internal development and thought the ideas were smart enough to warrant sharing. There are three ways suggested for which the environment can be used: quality assurance, testing patches, and testing security.
An isolated environment is a perfect place to QA new software, applications, and websites. You can use the standby system to simulate the real world, giving your team the opportunity to test for bugs. Very often issues are found after launch, causing potentially major issues for clients and your company. If you start integrating testing into your development process, you’ll have to issue fewer patches and your company will put our higher quality code. You’ll be doing this all while testing your standby system, killing two birds with one stone.
Another way to make testing the switchover process work double for you is to test patches. When you do need to issue a patch, test it first for issues and bugs. Then release with confidence.
Somethings that are always a threat to organizations are hacking and malware. With your isolated environment, you and your team can run penetration tests of your software to identify vulnerabilities. Within the sandbox of the standby system, you can inject malware to see how well your product stands up. Then failback, restoring the system to its previous state. Your development team can also test malicious file detection, intrusion detection and prevention, and URL filtering using the redundant system. There are open source tools and utilities for simulating a malicious activity that can be found with a quick search of the web.
In sum, with the busy schedules kept by web companies these days, there is no reason not to make your necessary DR testing work double for you. Once you become a company who uses a standby system to test everything before launch, you will put out a higher quality code and hence a higher quality service.