In life, we often plan for the future – whether it’s saving money, choosing a college, or buying insurance. Surprisingly, this forward-thinking doesn’t always extend to our professional lives, particularly when it comes to business continuity and disaster recovery plans. In this blog, we’ll discuss the significance of having such a strategic plan to protect your business against downtime.
What is a disaster recovery plan (DRP)?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented process that helps an organisation respond to and recover from a disaster. It should include steps to protect IT infrastructure, business operations, and employee safety. A DRP should address both natural and man-made disasters, such as floods, fires, cyberattacks, and equipment failures. It should also be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it is effective and up-to-date.
Key Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan
- Risk assessment: Identify the potential threats to your organisation and assess the likelihood and impact of each threat.
- Business impact analysis: Identify the critical business processes and data that must be protected and recovered in the event of a disaster.
- Recovery strategies: Develop plans for recovering critical business processes and data.
- Communication plan: Communicate the DRP to all employees and stakeholders.
- Testing: Test the DRP regularly to ensure that it is effective and up-to-date.
There is no one-size-fits-all business continuity and disaster recovery plan, but there are some common features that should be included:
Goals should define the desired outcomes of the plan, including the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). The RTO is the maximum amount of time that the organisation can tolerate being down after a disaster. The RPO is the maximum amount of data that the organisation can afford to lose after a disaster.
This should identify the people responsible for executing the plan. This should include a list of key personnel, such as the incident commander, IT staff, and public relations staff. The plan should also include a contact list for all key personnel, as well as their roles and responsibilities.
This should list all of the organisation’s hardware, software, and cloud assets. This should include information about the criticality of each asset, as well as its ownership status. The IT inventory should be updated regularly to ensure that it is accurate.
This should describe how each data resource is backed up. This should include information about the frequency of backups, the type of backup media used, and the location of the backups. The backup procedures should be tested regularly to ensure that they are working properly.
Disaster Recovery Procedures
This should explain the emergency responses and mitigation procedures that will be taken in the event of a disaster. This should include information about how to evacuate personnel, secure the facility, and protect data. The disaster recovery procedures should be tested regularly to ensure that they are effective.
Disaster Recovery Sites
This is a list of sites where all of the necessary hardware and software can be found that will allow the organisation to resume operations quickly in the event of a disaster. The hot disaster recovery site should be located in a different geographical area than the primary facility.
This should describe how to recover from a loss of full systems operations. This should include information about how to restore data, hardware, and software. The restoration procedures should be tested regularly to ensure that they are effective.
Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan
- Cost-efficiency: Disaster recovery plans include preventive, detection, and corrective measures to reduce costs associated with data loss, downtime, and security breaches.
- Increased productivity: Assigning specific roles and responsibilities in a disaster recovery plan improves team effectiveness and productivity. It also ensures redundancies in personnel for key tasks.
- Improved customer retention: Disaster recovery plans help organisations maintain a high quality of service during and after a disaster, which can increase customer retention.
- Compliance: Disaster recovery plans help organisations comply with industry regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or federal regulations.
- Scalability: Disaster recovery planning can help businesses identify innovative solutions to reduce the costs of data storage, backups, and recovery.
- Streamlined IT process: Disaster recovery planning can help businesses streamline the IT process by reducing the risk of human error, eliminating superfluous hardware, and streamlining the entire IT process. This can make the business more profitable and resilient.