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How DR Automation and RPA can help in the Covid 19 crisis

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By Abhay Charan Bagde, Thought Leader in Digital Transformation & Automation

It has been almost a decade. I am engaged in advising and implementing the use of automation to organisations across the globe. Based on my engagements, I would like to highlight some key instances and examples of automation, which can prove to be extremely useful in regular and pandemic situations.

#Example 1 : Stock Exchange in India
A leading stock exchange had to manage the RTO and RPO for its critical applications according to the disaster recovery policy laid down by the management. A few years back this particular stock exchange decided to automate the SOD and EOD process through a RPA  software including automating its planned  DR drills (Switch Over & Switch Back) and getting ready for an unplanned scenario. Failover can be done using IT resilience or DR automation software.

Now looking at today’s scenario of lockdown because of COVID-19, all organisations are being asked to operate with minimum capacity with respect to physical presence and the remote working model. Today all the SOD & EOD applications are initiated by an individual, with a single click which includes CLI and GUI based scenarios. All the business services are under continuous monitoring of the RTO with the readiness of shifting to DR site with a single click for continuity of the operation.

#Example 2 : Bank in Africa
This particular bank has very rigorous process of testing its business application availability with all related components. The bank deployed DR automation around a few years back, and a lot of the business applications are configured within the DR automation tool. Every weekend, there would be some applications which needed to be considered under the planned drill. Currently, they are facing the same scenario of lockdown due to COVID-19. Nothing has changed for them as they are operating in the same process and policy under automation through remote connectivity.

Benefits of RPA and DR Automation
RPA is able to reduce time for operations with efficiency. There is an improvement in RTO (Recovery Time Objectives) from hours to minutes. With this improved confidence in the DR environment, during hardware failures and incidents in production, services are / can be quickly switched to DR, and reduce the impact on the customer. The dependency on resources participating and executing on DR Drill, SOD and EOD have reduced significantly. Once a service has been configured and switched on for monitoring through the DR Automation tool, application owners can execute them, remotely whenever required irrespective of the location.

Preparing for the post Covid 19 world
Execution as learning should take priority. Organisations must relook at standard operating procedures and innovate the processes. It is important to make the business see the value, not the cost. All applications or business services should be considered critical instead putting them into tiers. Documentation and plans should be updated monthly and modifications worked upon as per the learning.

Oranisations must evaluate and choose an optimal/single framework of DR automation solution over a hybrid solution. They must also automate maximum application on DR automation platform. Process discipline of planned disaster recovery drills should be adhered to irrespective of role or business unit. DR Automation plan should be linked to the BCP automation tool to avoid miscommunication and discrepancy.

As Work From Home is going to be the new reality, organisations must evaluate how the recovery is going to happen. Collaboration between vendors, organisations and business will be the new way. It is critical to find the right team. For example, organisations must identify who are the internal people who know the process and can lead. Equally, it must also identify external consultants who have the expertise.

During this crisis, much innovation is going to take place, and it is a perfect time to bring in the change.

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