Disaster recovery testing is an IT best practice designed to ensure that any organization's disaster recovery plan actually works across the entire chain of your company's backup and recovery processes. This is a way to make sure you're backing up the data you need safely and reliably. Most importantly, it provides peace of mind that your data and applications are stored, backed up, easily recovered, and can be relied upon to ensure business continuity. 

Disaster recovery testing not only demonstrates your ability to recover data and systems after a failure, but also refines your company's plans for keeping customers and partners informed in the event of a disaster. Overall, the goal is to ensure that you are able to recover from any disaster that may occur and that you are in the best possible position to resume business as usual. 

In this article, we'll look at the basics of disaster recovery testing and offer some ideas to help make the business case for thorough disaster recovery testing a priority in your enterprise.

Disaster Recovery Testing Process

Disaster recovery testing is the process of verifying that an organization's disaster recovery plan will function as expected in the event of an emergency.  

Periodic disaster recovery testing is important because it helps identify gaps in recovery processes that may delay the organization's return to normal operations. 

While it's easy to think of disaster recovery as a one-time process, savvy IT teams view data protection as a collection of activities and practices: 

  1. System and process design and architecture for data protection 
  2. Backup and restore operations that depend on each other  
  3. Disaster recovery testing 

Each of these components is a necessary component of any well-thought-out disaster recovery plan. Considering testing as an integral part of the disaster recovery process ensures that your data protection practices are working as intended and gives you confidence that you can recover as intended when the time comes. 

A data protection plan without disaster recovery testing is incomplete. 

disaster recovery

Why is disaster recovery important?

First, disaster recovery allows you to quickly restore system operation and avoid data loss. If the system is not restored in time, it can lead to serious consequences such as data loss, disruption of business processes, or even a threat to data security.

Secondly, disaster recovery helps protect the company from possible financial losses. If the system fails, it could result in delays in order processing, loss of customers, or even loss of company reputation.

Finally, disaster recovery is a requirement for many organizations such as banks, insurance companies and government agencies. This is due to the fact that they work with sensitive data that must be protected from unauthorized access.

Examples of test scripts:

Scenario 1: Power failure

Purpose: to check the performance of the system during a power outage.


– Turn off the power to the system for a few minutes.
– Check that the system is not working.

Scenario 2: Software error

Purpose: checking the functionality of the system in case of a software error.


– Run the script that causes the software error.
– Check that the system reports an error.
– Correct the software error and check the system functionality.

Scenario 3: Hard drive failure

Purpose: checking system performance in case of hard drive failure.


– Remove the hard drive from the system.
– Make sure the system continues to operate without the hard drive.
– Install a new hard drive and check the system operation after installation.

Scenarios 4: Post-Recovery Recovery Test

Goal: check the speed of recovery after a failure.


– System failure.
- System Restore.
– Check recovery speed.
– Analysis of results.

Scenario 5: Network failure

Purpose: checking the functionality of the system in case of network failure.


– Create a network gap between the system and another device.
– Check the functionality of the system without communication with another device.

These are just some examples of test scenarios. It is important to develop your own scenarios, taking into account the characteristics of your system and testing goals.

In general, a disaster recovery plan should take into account the relative difficulty of recovering from different types of disasters. He must ask and answer leading questions, including the following:

  • If our equipment fails or becomes unavailable, where will we store our company data? In a secondary data center? In a cloud service that can be promoted?
  • How long will it take to provision secondary infrastructure or deploy it in the cloud?
  • How much does each option cost?
  • What people and resources will we need to properly execute the plan?
  • If our company operates in multiple regions, do regional rules apply to backup and recovery?

Where to start disaster recovery testing

In any disaster recovery plan, the main rule, of course, is to make sure that your backups are running and protecting priority applications and data first. Once you are sure of this, focus on the next steps.

  1. Defining testing objectives: Testing objectives must be defined before testing begins. These may include testing the system's performance under various conditions, testing the speed of recovery from failures, etc.
  2. Creating a test plan: The test plan should include a description of various failure scenarios and how to recover from them. It is also necessary to identify tools for test automation and testing on real data.
  3. Use of automation tools: To speed up the testing process and reduce errors, it is recommended to use automation tools such as scripts and APIs.
  4. Testing on Real Data: DR testing should be done on real data to ensure that the system performs correctly under different conditions.

 Important takeaways for every organization

First, no IT environment of any complexity will be able to perform disaster recovery testing on the first try. The iterative process is punctuated by findings: things to change and improve that will shape disaster recovery testing in the future.

One finding that can be discovered from disaster recovery testing is that some systems and devices are so critical to the business that they are almost never rebooted. This means that if something happens to the system, it may take months or years before the problem becomes known.

For example, suppose you are restoring a database while testing disaster recovery and you are unable to start it up. You find out that it hasn't rebooted in the last two years and that it won't restart anymore because it needs a system update. If you discover this during disaster recovery testing rather than during a disaster, it is a valuable finding that you can use in your day-to-day data protection efforts.

The biggest mistakes organizations make when testing disaster recovery

  1. Insufficient testing: Some organizations do not conduct enough disaster recovery testing, which can lead to system failures.
  2. Improper test planning: Improper test planning can result in some scenarios not being tested, which can also lead to failures.
  3. Insufficient automation: Lack of test automation can lead to errors and delays in the testing process.
  4. Insufficiently realistic data: Using unrealistic data can lead to incorrect test results and misunderstanding of system behavior.


In conclusion, it can be noted that disaster recovery testing is an important step in the development and support of information systems. It allows you to identify weaknesses in the system and take measures to eliminate them.

Successful testing requires defining goals and creating a test plan, using automation tools, and testing on real data. It is also important to analyze test results and identify problems that need to be addressed.

In the further development of the topic of disaster recovery testing, it can be recommended to use new technologies and methods, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to increase the efficiency of testing and improve the quality of system operation. You can also test on more complex scenarios and increase the amount of test data.

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