disaster recovery

Service mapping and disaster recovery planning

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In 2021, the disaster recovery market reached $5.2 billion and was expected to grow by 27.84% between 2022 and 2027.It is because the possibility of incidents has increased significantly. For example, from a natural disaster perspective, the United Nations predicts that by 2030, the number of disasters is expected to increase to 560 per year—or 1.5 incidents a day.

Plus, these are not the only types of incidents we can expect. You can expect regular service outages, cyberattacks, loss of business productivity due to internal reasons, and more. When you consider the potential for frequent business disruption—you need a tool to help you get up and running as fast as possible. This is what service mapping enables you to achieve.

A service map is a diagram that shows how different applications and services connect. It can also show where data is stored and what resources are needed to access it.

Service mapping helps organizations prepare for disasters by identifying all the essential applications to the business and any dependencies between them. It also allows organizations to restore services after a disaster occurs quickly.

Visualizing what a service should do is mission-critical in any disaster recovery plan. Service mapping allows you to leverage your existing tools and assets, which may already be part of your disaster recovery plan (DRP) but have yet to be widely understood.

This article will discuss seven reasons you should invest in a service mapping tool while curating your organization’s DRP.

1. Visualization is key during an IT disaster recovery process

Service mapping is the process of visualizing your IT assets and mapping them to their services. It can be done manually or using a tool, but the goal is to create a picture of how different systems interact and how they are related to the applications you run.

It helps you identify your organization’s services and understand how they work together and interact with external components such as third-party vendors or partners.

Service mapping is essential to disaster recovery planning because it helps you visualize what needs to be recovered first. The more detailed your service map is, the easier it will be for you to plan your recovery strategy in case of an outage or disaster. 

Ultimately, it helps you understand how changes in one service component affect other components of that same service and vice versa. A visual representation also allows you to easily see the relationships between services and their dependencies, making it easier to identify where things are broken when they are not behaving as planned.

2. Improve your incident response time and efficiency through automation

Service mapping allows you to tie services, applications, systems, and infrastructure together to improve response time, containment, and resiliency. It is an iterative review of each service’s high-level architecture and dependencies. After identifying all the components involved with a given service (and their interdependencies), you can map out how those components fit into your environment. It allows you to identify where any vulnerabilities lie—or if they exist.

Also, it also provides a great deal of information about your organization’s current state. It shows which applications are running on which servers, identifies where critical data is stored, determines what resources need special protection (e.g., backup tapes), and more.

The entire manual process is automated, so there is no need for manual data entry or analysis. All information needed for root cause analysis is collected automatically from multiple sources using AI-driven discovery algorithms. As a result, IT teams can perform root cause analysis in a fraction of the time.

Ultimately, it improves several parts of the incident response process:

  • Improving outage response time, which means having your service back online sooner
  • Reducing the number of unplanned outages by identifying critical dependencies between systems
  • Identifying trends in unplanned outages, allowing you to make improvements before an issue occurs
  • Reducing costs associated with unplanned outages by identifying redundant or unnecessary systems

3. Plan your disaster recovery process with more context on your infrastructure

As automated service mapping allows you to identify critical assets and processes and how they interact, it is easier to gather context during an incident. This capability is beneficial when you have multiple data centers or cloud environments. 

It helps you understand how different services depend on one another and the dependencies between them. They allow you to prioritize resources during testing and recovery efforts. When something goes wrong, it is essential that you know which assets are most important so you can start fixing them first. 

Service maps also allow you to do this by providing extra context on your infrastructure. They tell you what each asset does and where it sits within your broader network infrastructure (e.g., how many other systems depend on it). When trying to fix something, you can prioritize the most critical services.

You can also help plan for future events by showing how your infrastructure is connected. If one component fails, you can assess what will happen. For example, how does that affect other systems? How should you prioritize recovery efforts to minimize downtime and disruption? 

Service maps provide a high-level view of this information, making it easier for you and your team to respond faster when incidents occur.

4. Ensure business continuity through the identification of critical assets

The first step in any disaster recovery plan is determining what resources are required for business continuity. A good disaster recovery plan documents which systems, applications, data—and other resources—are most critical. It also includes the necessary steps to recover from backup media as part of your business continuity plans.

Service mapping allows you to inventory your IT assets and determine which ones are critical. You can use this information to create a service catalog detailing your services and how they work together.

It also involves examining how your network infrastructure is configured and where each critical application resides within that infrastructure. You need to know how all of these applications communicate with one another. So, you understand what could go wrong if one fails due to an outage or disaster event. 

It will also help you determine which systems must be restored during an outage or disaster. Your operations can resume quickly without unnecessarily impacting customers or employees.

5. Ability to assign backup IT assets in the event of an incident with ease

It is essential to have a backup plan in place before disaster strikes. If you are not ready, you could lose valuable data or have your operation crippled for weeks. But service mapping can help you get back on your feet quickly.

Service maps show you all the critical systems and services of your organization and determine how they fit together into a cohesive picture. Once you know what each service does, it is easier to assign backup IT assets if one fails and prevent any data loss.

When a service fails in the event of an incident, you need to know how to restore it quickly. Service mapping helps by providing an overview of how all your services fit together so you can determine which ones should be restored based on a restorative plan.

Then, within your DRP, you can easily assign backup assets as you can visualize exactly how information flows and which services can be backed up quickly through its activation.

6. Eliminate uninformed decision-making processes and encourage a data-driven incident response

When planning for disaster recovery, organizations need to think beyond the immediate scope of their business.

The scope of a disaster can varies widely, from a simple power outage to a widespread cyberattack that causes massive disruption. Regardless of what form a disaster takes, it’s crucial that organizations continually test and refine their disaster recovery strategies to address ever-evolving threats and business needs.

To ensure that your organization is prepared for any crisis, you must have a solid plan to respond when things go wrong. The key is to be as prepared as possible for every situation and have the resources necessary to handle any challenge that comes your way.

For example, you can save time understanding which services have been impacted when a service outage occurs. Instead, you can look into your service mapping tool and get an in-depth visualization of what is affected and what backup services are available. It encourages a data-driven culture within the organization—removing the need for guesswork.

7. Easier to execute alternative workplace plans as all the information is present in one place

Any DRP will include an alternative workplace plan to ensure every stakeholder knows what to do. However, sometimes they might struggle with executing these plans as they do not have the necessary information to kickstart the process. Previously, IT teams had to do a manual check to identify the root cause and additional variables. They can open the maps using service mapping, see what is impacted and where it occurred, and choose the dedicated alternative workplace plan.

This capability benefits remote teams as they usually cannot physically access resources. Such tools eliminate the need to be present at all times—and simplify the entire incident response process for every stakeholder.

Strengthen your disaster recovery process using Virima’s service mapping tool

Service mapping is an essential infrastructure management tool and can help your organization prepare for any potential disaster. It also grants easy access to all your organization’s network systems and devices, thus improving incident response times. It simplifies identifying and visualizing dependencies or relationships between services or components that would otherwise take much more effort to identify. 

For companies that want a comprehensive view of their IT infrastructure, service mapping is the perfect addition to their incident response plan. If you have not already started using this technology, it is time to start thinking about how service mapping could help improve resilience and preparedness within your organization.  If you are interested in learning more about service mapping, Virima can offer a custom demonstration so that you can observe firsthand how we can implement this powerful technology for your organization.

Book a demo with Virima today to explore the capabilities of our service mapping tool.

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