IT component and data are the cornerstone of business success in our digital era. Every year unpreparedness to address disasters cost businesses millions of dollars in lost profit and recovery expenses. To safeguard your company against such scenarios you must take timely precautions. Disasters come in a variety of forms, but they all have one thing in common: they are unpredictable. Bushfires, military actions, pandemics, human errors, fire, hardware failures, electrical outages, criminal acts, and a variety of other events have a significant impact on businesses and individuals. We can’t always predict risks on a local or global scale, and when something unexpected occurs, it emphasizes the importance of planning for the worst-case scenario. That is why an IT security service is critical for any business, and having a well-thought-out disaster recovery plan (DRP) that includes all essential elements is critical for businesses. A disaster recovery plan of an organization should be easy to follow and understand, it must be adjusted to meet the certain specific needs of the company, it must be tested in advance, and regularly updated. To create an effective disaster recovery plan, it is best to work with an experienced managed IT services provider. So, what should be included in a disaster recovery plan? Let’s take a closer look at essential disaster recovery plan elements.
TOP-5 disaster recovery plan elements
- Disaster recovery team assignment. Such a team will be in charge of developing, implementing, and maintaining the Disaster Recovery Plan. In the DRP, the team members should be identified, their tasks defined, and their contact information provided. The DRP should specify all persons to contact in case of a disaster or emergency. In the event of a disaster, all personnel should be aware of the DRP and their responsibilities.
- Disaster risk assessment. The hazards to your organization should be identified and assessed by your disaster recovery team. Natural catastrophes, man-made emergencies, and technology-related incidents should all be included in this stage. This will aid the team in determining the recovery strategies and resources needed to recover from disasters within a reasonable timeframe.
- Determine which applications, documents, and resources are the most important for maintaining uninterrupted workflow. The company must assess its business processes to identify which apps, documents, data and resources are crucial to the company’s operations. Instead of focusing on a long-term solution of restoring the organization’s full operational capabilities, the plan should concentrate on ensuring an uninterrupted workflow and take care of customer services, client support, creating cash flows and revenues. However, the organization must acknowledge that some processes should not be postponed if at all possible. Payroll processing is an example of a vital process.
- Determine processes for off-site storage and back-ups. Protocols that you will elaborate should contain information about data to back-up, the back-up method, the storage, and the back-up frequency. Remember, that all business critical applications should be backed up alongside information that is vital for work flow, for instance recent taxation, financial documents, vendor list, customer database, purchase orders etc. At this stage it is important to remember the 3-2-1 rule that states: create at least 3 copies of your data, choose 2 different storage media for your backups and keep 1 backup copy outside your main IT infrastructure. Cloud storages are ideal for this purpose.
- Regular assessment and update of DRP. Disaster recovery plans must also adapt as firms change and evolve at a rapid pace. Because the hazards of disasters and emergencies are continually changing, disaster recovery planning is a continuous process. The company should test the DRP on a regular basis to ensure that the procedures outlined in the plan are functional and suitable. The DRP should be updated on a regular basis to account for changes in business processes, technology, and disaster risks. Your organization should set aside time to test or rehearse your plan to ensure that it is effective, as well as to review it to ensure that it meets business and industry standards.
Why communication matters.When an emergency situation takes place the last thing you want to do is address your customers, employees, or other stakeholders, but good communication is critical in demonstrating that you are in charge of the problem and that it will be remedied. Effective communication is not just communicating everything as soon as possible, but also understanding the communication chain and reporting accurate data. This is why it’s critical to have a detailed communication plan to follow in case of emergency. This plan should include internal and external contact lists, as well as a process for what information can be sent and how it should be communicated, depending on the situation. For example, communication in the aftermath of a natural disaster will differ from communication in the aftermath of a data breach, and your plan must consider these differences.
How to measure the effectiveness of a disaster recovery plan.The key metrics to measure a disaster recovery plan effectiveness. An important thing to consider when elaborating a disaster recovery plan is metrics. What should they cover:
- RTO: the recovery time objective
- RPO: a desired recovery point objective