No organisation is immune to the potential risk of disruption to its operation. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely experienced significant disruption to your business. Or maybe you’re just concerned about what could happen if a disaster or a malicious attack were to strike. Either way, it’s not too late to start thinking about disaster recovery (DR), which is creating a plan for how to respond when a system outage or other significant event happens that could affect your business operations.
When you’ve identified what is critical to your business, it’s time to define where the data is stored, who has access to it, and how it’s protected. You need to know what processes are being performed on that data—and by whom. Finally, you must identify the systems (computers, software, and network) that perform those processes.
To create a DRP, you must first assess the risks posed by an outage. What are the consequences of a system failure? How long would it take for your organisation to recover from that failure? How much money would it cost in lost productivity and lost revenue? Which systems are critical to your business operations, and what will happen if they fail unexpectedly? Assemble this information into an assessment of risk to identify areas where you need to strengthen disaster recovery planning.
Thinking about every possible way your system could fail is critical. You need to ask yourself, “What is the worst-case scenario?” and “How will we recover from it?”
For example: How will you get back up and running if your system or data is destroyed due to nature, malicious attack, or human error? Do you have redundant systems in another location? Are there remote access options for employees who need access to their files? Have these remote access options been tested recently with employees using them in a real-life scenario (for example, if an employee has been out sick or on vacation)? If not, test them today!
After you have created your DR plan, it is essential to document it accurately and unambiguously. The written documentation should be easy to read and understand, as this will allow all people involved with the plan to know what they need to do if disaster strikes. It is also important that your documentation contains enough detail so that anyone can implement the steps necessary for recovery without needing further guidance or clarification.
Testing your DR plan is essential to ensure it works in an emergency. You should test your plan at least once a year, more often if changes to the environment or business processes occur.
Make sure you have the right people involved in testing your DR plan. For example, suppose some new employees haven’t been trained to use specific systems. In that case, those individuals should not be included in the test group because they may not be able to perform their job functions as expected during an emergency.
Many organisations use their existing incident response procedures (IRP) as part of their disaster recovery testing process by simulating an actual incident and following these established guidelines to resolve it. This approach helps ensure everyone knows what actions are required when a real crisis affects critical services such as IT or telecommunications networks.
A disaster recovery plan is an essential component of business continuity. It’s a plan for restoring your business operations in the event of a disaster and ensuring that you can continue to deliver value to your customers. A DR plan will help ensure that your organisation can recover from any disruption as quickly as possible—with minimal productivity and revenue losses.