Every business relies on Information Technology (IT) to effectively process information. From the way you communicate through emails or telephone systems to storing large amounts of files through your database.
Computers, laptops, and mobile devices are being used every day to communicate, process, and manage information. We all rely on technology more and more, but what if a disaster happens and technology suddenly stops working? What do you do?
In this article you will learn:
- What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
- Why do you need it?
- Steps to develop a plan for your organization
- Is your business prepared for a disaster?
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a document that facilitates an organization to respond to a disaster and take immediate action to prevent losses and quickly salvage its operations. It is a detailed document outlining the exact measures that will take effect in the event of a disaster to guarantee business continuity.
Why do you need it?
Disasters can happen to anyone at any time and your business is not exempted. Even an hour of downtime can cost you thousands, therefore having a disaster recovery plan is a must.
Disasters are divided into 3 classifications:
- Natural: floods, earthquake, epidemic or pandemic (e.g. Covid-19)
- Human-induced: cyberattack or sabotage
- Technological: hardware or infrastructure system failure.
You cannot always avoid disasters, but having a plan can alleviate any potential damage.
Steps to develop a plan for your organization
Creating a disaster recovery plan is not as simple as you think. It requires in-depth research to understand your business needs and the risks it might face. Aside from planning and created, you should also conduct a test to make sure it works and regularly update it to ensure relevance.
Here are the steps to guide you in disaster recovery planning:
1. Identify your assets
Distinguish what your business needs to protect, this can include your hardware, software, network equipment, and critical data. List all your assets under IT management and map where each asset is located virtually or physically, which network it is placed, and relation to other vendors.
2. Risk Assessment
Now that you have identified your assets, go through each and list the internal and external threats including natural, man-made disasters, and incidents associated with technology. It also includes the probability that an event may happen and the impact it might occur. How would it affect your business continuity?
3. Determine the criticality of data and applications
Categorized assets into high, medium, or low impact. You must evaluate your business process to identify which are vital to your operation. Focus on short-term solutions such as revenue flow rather than a long-term response to restoring your business to its full operational capacity. But, critical processes such as payroll shouldn’t be delayed.
4. Define recovery objective
Consult with your business colleagues and ask some of these questions to have an alignment:
- What applications does your department use?
- Would you consider restoring data that is more than a year old? 3 months? 6 months?
- Are there times that an application is not being used, internal or external?
- What is your leniency for downtime?
Use this information to define your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is the time you will set for the recovery of your business’ IT and activities after a disaster. RTO’s goal is to calculate the maximum acceptable time your business can be offline.
RPO is more focused on your business’ tolerance concerning your data. What is the acceptable amount of data you can afford to lose? If your tolerance is high, your RPO can be from hours to days. If you can’t afford to lose data, then your RPO will be seconds.
5. Establish the right tools
Choose Software or hardware that will help you achieve the required recovery set up. Would it be cloud-based? There are plenty of solutions available on the market today but make sure that it offers the right level of protection your business needs.
6. Communicate your plan
Don’t leave the rest of your employees vulnerable. Circulate it across your team and be sure that you will store your plan where everyone can have access to it.
7. Test and review your DRP
Practice doesn’t make it perfect, but practice leads to progress. Try your plan and make modifications if you encounter any problems. Review the plan every now and then, to ensure its relevancy to your structure.
Is your business prepared for a disaster?
Having a solid plan in place can help you minimize loss should the worst happen. In short, it’s always good to have a plan ready so you’ll feel more prepared for whatever might happen.
Ready to start creating your disaster recovery plan? Get in touch with our team today!