Why establishing a disaster recovery plan is important
A disaster recovery plan is critical to an organization quickly and seamlessly recovering its IT infrastructure during a disaster. Threats can be natural, such as a hurricane that causes physical damage, or targeted like a ransomware attack. A good disaster recovery plan anticipates any kind of disaster and prevents long downtimes. The quicker you can get back up and running, the fewer losses your business will suffer in a disaster.
Create an asset inventory that identifies all IT hardware and software assets
The first step to creating a robust disaster recovery plan is an asset inventory. You will need to work with all your stakeholders to identify your IT hardware and software assets. Once you have identified these assets, you should determine which ones are critical in a disaster. Input from all your stakeholders is important during this step as it will give you the most detailed picture of which parts of your IT infrastructure are critical to business operations and should be the priority in a disaster situation.
Use a risk analysis process to assess vulnerabilities
A risk analysis assesses how threats and vulnerabilities affect your assets to create potential risk for the business. These risks can be natural or targeted. Power outages, hardware failure, natural disasters, ransomware are some examples of the kind of risks that might threaten your servers. A risk analysis details how threats and vulnerabilities intersect to create risk. Once you know how threats have the potential to affect your IT assets, you can understand how you can approach recovering those assets.
Assess existing stakeholders, response abilities, hardware, and then identify gaps
Perform a business impact analysis that defines your recovery objective and time frame, including how much data loss is acceptable, how much downtime is acceptable, and RTO/RPO for each server workload. Identifying gaps is an important step in creating your plan. Once you have identified them, you can work on how to bridge them in a disaster situation. These steps will give you a target state for your disaster recovery plan.
Perform a downtime cost analysis
This is a simple calculation that will give you insight into how much time you are willing to spend fixing problems during a disaster. Divide the total revenue for the business by the working hours. This will give a dollar figure for how much downtime costs the business. Use this figure to determine how much downtime is acceptable. Once you know that, you can add a timeline to your disaster recovery plan.
Testing your disaster recovery plan
Once you have followed the steps above, you need to test your disaster recovery plan. Regular testing ensures it will meet the needs of the business in a real-world event. Testing is also an iterative learning process that strengthens your DR plan over time. If it fails during a test, you have the opportunity to make changes so that it will perform in a similar real-work event.
A DIY vs. a service-based disaster recovery strategy
We have discussed the preparatory steps that will help you decide which disaster recovery plan is best for you. The next step is choosing the right DR plan for your IT infrastructure. There are DIY solutions that you can create yourself. However, a service-based plan has advantages that a DIY plan does not. A service-based DR strategy is on demand with a structure created by professionals with many years of experience in handling all kinds of disasters who will work with you to customize the plan to meet your specific needs. A service-based plan can also be accessed easily through a web app and support is available if needed. Being prepared is important. In a real-world event, you have a limited amount of time to respond to a disaster, prevent further damage, and restore your IT infrastructure. It is critical to your business to have a robust disaster recovery plan. Learn more about managed disaster recovery and data backup.