Avoiding downtime by planning properly, today; this is what disaster recovery it’s all about.
The best plan for your business in dealing with disasters is to be prepared before the disaster occurs. Disasters, natural and man-made, are sometimes unavoidable, so we need to be ready to keep the business running no matter the circumstances surrounding.
A disaster recovery plan is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work after an unplanned incident. A DRP is an essential part of a business continuity plan. The recovery plan should be applied to the aspects of an organization, especially the ones that depend on a functioning IT infrastructure; all processes and technology or computer-oriented.
A DRP aims to help an organization resolve data loss and recover system functionality so that it can perform in the aftermath of an incident, even if it operates at a minimum level.
The step-by-step plan consists of detailing the precautions needed to minimize the effects of a disaster, so the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume critical functions. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before generating a detailed plan, an organization often performs a business impact analysis and a risk analysis so recovery objectives can be established to all the operational areas.
How extensive should your recovery plan be?
Nowadays, with cybercrime and security breaches becoming more sophisticated, it is important for you as an organization to define your data recovery and protection strategies. The ability to quickly handle incidents can reduce downtime and minimize both financial and reputational damages.
Disaster recovery plans allow organizations to ensure they meet all compliance requirements, while also providing a clear roadmap to recovery.
Some types of disasters that organizations can plan for include:
- Application failure
- Communication failure (Internet or power outage, etc)
- Data center disaster
- Building disaster (earthquake, fire, etc)
- National disaster
Recovery Plan Considerations
A disaster recovery strategy should start at the business operational level and determine which applications are most important to keep the organization running. Recovery time objective describes the target amount of time a business application can be down, typically measured in hours, minutes or seconds.
Recovery point objective describes the age of files that must be recovered from backup storage for normal operations to be resumed.
Recovery strategies define an organization’s plans for responding to an incident, while disaster recovery plans describe how the organization should respond. Recovery plans are derived from recovery strategies.
In determining a recovery strategy, organizations should consider such issues as:
- Insurance coverage
- Resources — people and physical facilities
- Management’s position on risks
- Compliance requirements
Management approval of recovery strategies is necessary. All strategies should align with the organization’s goals. Once disaster recovery strategies have been developed and approved, they can be translated into disaster recovery plans.
Types of disaster recovery plans
Disaster recovery plans can be specifically tailored for a given environment. Some environment-specific plans include:
- Data center disaster recovery plan: Data center disaster recovery plan focuses exclusively on the data center facility and infrastructure. A well executed operational risk assessment is a key element in data center disaster recovery plans. It analyzes key components such as building location, power systems and protection, security, and office space. The plan must address a broad range of possible scenarios.
- Cloud disaster recovery plan: Cloud disaster recovery can range from a file backup in the cloud to a complete replication of data and information. Cloud disaster recovery can be space, time and cost-efficient, but maintaining the disaster recovery plan requires proper management. Manager must know the location of physical and virtual servers.
- Virtualized disaster recovery plan: This process provides opportunities to implement disaster recovery in a more efficient and simpler way. A virtualized environment can spin up new virtual machine instances within minutes and provide application recovery through high availability. Testing can also be easier to achieve, but the plan must include the ability to validate that applications can be run in disaster recovery mode and returned to normal operations within the RPO and RTO.
- Network disaster recovery plan: Developing a plan for recovering a network gets more complicated as the complexity of the network increases. It is important to detail the step-by-step recovery procedure, test it properly and keep it updated. Data in this plan will be specific to the network, such as in its performance and networking staff.
The plan must address security, which is a common issue in the cloud that can be alleviated through well executed testing.
Don’t make the mistake of letting them guess what has happened, keep your customers, employees, and vendors informed at all times. Communication is vital in these types of situations. Not keeping your customers informed may cause them to start looking elsewhere for the type of service you provide. So start planning for the future to assure your business will keep on going no matter the circumstances.