Businesses today rely on a plethora of IT infrastructure. From emails to critical client data, all are reliant on a vast network of interconnected devices. Unfortunately, the convenience of cloud computing and web applications makes business owners complacent about planning for a disaster that can impact their network and data, and the survival of their business.
Disaster recovery planning is an indispensable part of an IT infrastructure. Cyber threats from ransomware, unforeseeable disasters such as fire, theft, or flood if your business has on-premises servers, human error and malicious intent by disgruntled employees means effective data backup policies are an absolute must for organizations of all sizes. Yet, there remains a great deal of mystery surrounding disaster recovery; and why it’s necessary for every business that relies on technology.
Disaster recovery planning steps can help you protect your network before it is attacked.
In this article we are going to deconstruct disaster recovery plan steps. After all, planning for unforeseen events is not just prudent, it is necessary.
What is a disaster recovery plan?
At its simplest, a disaster recovery plan is intended to minimize disruption and risk to your business in the event of a significant adverse event. It is a misnomer to think that only catastrophic events such as complete server and data loss are legislated for. Disaster recovery plan steps in fact assess what can be the most disruptive events for each individual business. This can be a network breach, failure of the data transmission network, confidential information being left unprotected or an extended internet outage if you rely on cloud applications.
Effective disaster recovery will mean identifying the adverse event, isolating its effects, and restoring your business to a functional state. Disaster recovery plans can cover a number of different situations:
- Network disaster recovery
- Data center disaster recovery
- Cloud disaster recovery
- Virtualized disaster recovery
Why is a disaster recovery plan important?
The greatest threats to any business are data loss and downtime. In the event you suffer partial or complete data loss, the worst case scenario will be to have to start building your databases from scratch. It is something that can cripple a business as a going concern. Downtime is similarly detrimental, with hundreds, even thousands, of productive hours lost. Missed deadlines can add to contractual penalties and even cost you your clients.
Effective disaster recovery plan steps ensure minimum disruption and rapid response times. Data loss is the biggest risk for businesses and that’s why most companies choose to employ off-site data backups and specialists to help recover data. Within a few hours of a catastrophic event your business can be up and running.
Who is responsible for a disaster recovery plan?
Disaster recovery planning is a complex task and requires dedicated resources. If you are deploying existing IT staff to the task, it will be their task to identify the right disaster recovery steps and solution. Regardless, in order to implement effective disaster recovery, your in-house team will have to contract with external data specialists for off-site storage.
With managed IT services, you benefit from an experienced team that will prepare for disaster recovery a lot more holistically. On-site and off-site data recovery will be planned from the very start. Your network and data will be monitored in real time, and a team of experts can have you back up and running with minimum delay.
What are the benefits of creating a disaster recovery plan?
If you suffer a ransomware attack, find spyware on your systems or discover important data has been misplaced, a disaster recovery plan will protect you from being held hostage. If your servers are destroyed in a fire, flood or natural disaster, you don’t lose your business data. If there is partial corruption of your network and data, your files will not be irretrievably lost.
Carefully researched disaster recovery plan steps can erase worries about downtime and disruption. In a few hours your network can be secured, your data restored in its entirety and your operation can be up and running immediately.
What are the key elements of a disaster recovery plan?
While disaster recovery plan steps are unique to each business, the basic elements remain the same. These are:
Communication plans – The news of disruption must be relayed effectively to all affected employees; clear instructions should be provided about interaction with business networks and data; roles should be assigned following the disaster.
Equipment plans and inventory– Whether equipment can be salvaged or if replacement equipment should be sourced must be determined; what, if any, further damage prevention measures are required, should be outlined.
Backup and data continuity – Core data and infrastructure essentials for the operation of the business should be identified; operations data and systems, such as customer deliverables and communications must be prioritized to ensure continuity of business.
Data restoration – Restoring data and networks as soon as possible is the most critical of disaster recovery plan steps. Prerequisites for system security and network status must be fulfilled before data is restored.
A disaster recovery plan must be created in accordance with company policy and IT best practices. How comprehensive a disaster recovery solution needs to be must be assessed by management, in consultation with experienced IT service providers.