IT disaster recovery that works well, works on everything that must be recovered. However, you must know about all those IT assets.

While it may be difficult to forget about a mainframe or a dedicated data centre, other data and applications may be “hiding in plain sight” on your desktop PC or smartphone, or tucked away in a departmental server or a cloud account.

Wherever they are, if files and programs have any significant impact (operational, reputational, compliance, or other) on your enterprise, you need to know about them. So, it’s time to put your discovery machine into gear and go out and find them.

There are essentially two ways of finding out about IT assets: by using software agents or by going agentless. The agentless approach has several advantages.

There is no need for any intrusive procedure of installing an extra program, you won’t run the risk of forgetting to install an agent on some out of the way system, and you are unlikely trigger excessive change control procedures.

But whichever approach you choose, your implementation must be able to discover assets inside and outside the corporate perimeter, as well as identifying new assets as they are created or added.

It is possible that you have already put such asset discovery procedures in place, to improve asset management and return on investment.

If so, the information gathered must be easy to use to keep disaster recovery plans up to date, and to act fast in case of disaster.

For the same reasons, while it may take a day or two to find out about everything with your automated discovery tool, it should not take weeks either.

Next steps can include associating business intelligence or analytics software with your asset database, pulling in usage statistics, levels of connectedness with other systems, and other information to help you refine your disaster recovery priorities.

But remember that successful DR depends on knowing that an asset exists in the first place.