From cyber-attacks to fire and flood, a wide scope of natural and unnatural events can threaten your business infrastructure and therefore your business operations. Disaster recovery planning enables you to prepare for such events and formulate a plan to resume operations quickly, reducing your down time and loss of income.
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document that outlines the process, or set of procedures, used to recover and protect your business in the event of a disaster. The more comprehensive your DRP the better chance you have of returning to normal business promptly.
The Disaster Recovery Planning Process
Begin by defining your resilience in the face of data loss and downtime. Each business varies in its size, product or service, and its reliance on IT equipment and network services. So therefore, a specific DRP will be required for each business.
1. Identify Possible Threats
Step 1 in disaster recovery planning is to think about the different disasters that could endanger your business. Some common examples are:
- Building infrastructure problems, e.g. electrical fires, broken water pipes and floods.
- Power outages which can cause network failures and important equipment breakdown.
- System problems, e.g. cyber-attacks, file corruption or deletion, hardware failure.
- Personnel loss due to sickness or extended vacation leave.
2. Ensure Data Protection
All businesses should ensure that they regularly back up their data so that it is accessible when needed. Follow the 3-2-1 rule: Protect your data with 3 alternate backups – 2 copies on different forms of media such as your hard drive and an external drive, and 1 backup offsite. Cloud backup is a great option as it automatically updates your files regularly, which can then be accessed from anywhere that has the internet.
3. Outline Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Once you have determined the possible threats and ensured your data is well protected you can begin outlining your DRP. Allocate a realistic time frame to each step so you can develop a timeline from disaster to return to operations.
Disaster recovery planning basically has 2 separate phases:
i. Replace – Preparing a complete inventory of your hardware and software will help identify what would need to be replaced. Consider the following when determining what elements would need to be replaced and the order of their priority:
- What are the most essential elements of your infrastructure, including personnel, that would need to be replaced first?
- How will you replace them?
- Will you need to contact suppliers or contractors?
- How long will it take to procure equipment and staff?
- Where will you go if a new worksite is needed?
- What are the most cost-effective options?
ii. Recovery – Involves getting all the equipment back online and personnel on board. This includes data recovery, new staff and possibly a new location.
4. Planning, Communication and Personnel
It is wise to consider how to communicate with your staff during and after a disaster. Some events will affect phone and network channels including email facilities. Having an alternate or rerouting option may be necessary in these situations.
The success of any DRP is in the meticulous planning and the communication of what the plan entails. Personnel are an essential part of a DRP so need to be well-versed in its implementation. In the eventuality of a disaster, staff need to work as a team and know exactly how to react and respond. A clear outline of the role of each staff member will ensure the DRP is carried out smoothly and efficiently, saving time and money in a time of crisis.
5. Regularly Test Your Plan
Having a DPR is one thing, being able to successfully implement it is another. For your disaster recovery planning to be successful test and time it regularly using different scenarios.
Seeking the services of a professional who can tailor an effective DRP for your business can save you time, money and reduce the threat of disaster for your business.
Advanced Technology have extensive experience in disaster recovery planning, and can provide you with an efficient DPR to safeguard your business from disaster. We offer a full range of IT Consulting and IT Services to help your Coffs Harbour business. These include data backup services, such as cloud backup, and many other IT related services that can assist, protect and improve your business infrastructure.