5 Tips to Follow for Effective Disaster Recovery Planning
Hope for the best, but also prepare for the worst. The saying couldn’t be more true when it comes to your IT systems. Threats to data, network, and applications are more pronounced today than ever before. It’s important to have a robust strategy that allows you to thwart IT disasters in time. But, it’s also equally important to have a recovery strategy to back your business in the event where these disasters become all too real, despite of your efforts to prevent them.
Such a strategy, that enables you to recover from the damaging effects of unanticipated disaster events unscathed, is called a disaster recovery or business continuity plan. In the aftermath of a disaster, your priority is to ensure that all your business data is intact and all your business applications face minimal downtime. Having a disaster recovery plan in place helps ensure the same. To learn more about what disaster recovery planning is and why is it so essential for any business, read: Benefits of Business Continuity Plan
Given the high dependency of your business operations on the technology infrastructure, disaster recovery planning is crucial for you. Here are top 5 tips that you should follow when creating a plan for safely recovering from IT disasters:
Identify All the Vulnerabilities for Your IT Environment
The first step in business continuity planning is figuring out the major as well as minor vulnerabilities that pose a disaster risk for your IT environment. Be as comprehensive as possible as you outline your vulnerabilities. From a natural disaster like flood to an inadvertent mistake by employee like replying to a phishing email, take every possible vulnerability into account. Once you know the various ways via which a disaster may hit your business, you can ensure that your business continuity plan consists of appropriate action steps for you and your company employees to follow, for responding to all disaster possibilities.
Be Very Particular With Your Data Backups
Data recovery and backup has to be a huge part of your disaster recovery planning, since the risk of data loss exists for nearly all kinds of IT disasters. Because data is so valuable to your business, you can’t afford to be lax with the data backups. Make sure that you have determined the Recovery Point Objective, or RPO, for your business. RPO refers to the amount of time that may elapse between your last data backup and when your business could possibly be interrupted by a disaster. What this means is that you are okay with losing the data of this time period, therefore RPO is an important way to define the maximum amount of data that your business can afford to permanently lose in case of a disaster. Depending on how crucial data is in your business operations, your RPO could range in minutes, meaning your data will need to be backed up constantly.
Build a Dedicated Team Where Everybody Knows Their Role
Build a disaster response team who are capable of carrying out the disaster recovery plan when there’s need to, and guide others in the company also to follow the suit. It is this team that will need to get into immediate action mode as soon as a disaster happens. To ensure that the team is able to work smoothly in an emergency, clear and defined allocation of responsibilities to every team member is important.
Make sure that the team works according to a checklist, which lays down all the necessary steps to be taken. Of course, it would be a good idea for rest of the employees in your company to be aware of the checklist too. You could have an internal department dedicated to the purpose of disaster response, or you could go with an option that’s generally much more preferred by businesses, which is to delegate the responsibility to a managed IT services provider.
Don’t Forget to Give Your Disaster Recovery Plan a Test Ride
Don’t wait until a disaster happens to check how effective your disaster recovery plan is. After you create a disaster recovery plan, and even after you make any changes in the plan, it’s essential that you test it to see that it works and yields results as per your recovery expectations. On testing your disaster recovery plan, you may stumble upon any loopholes or issues with the plan that need to be fixed, or you may realize that there are some things that you could improve in the plan to achieve better results. Upon these discoveries, you can make the suitable changes in the plan and ensure that the plan works impeccably when the actual disaster occurs.
Update Your Business Continuity Plan from Time to Time
When it comes to a business continuity plan, you can’t just create it and forget it. It needs to be just as dynamic as your technology infrastructure, meaning it may need some revisions any time you make significant changes to your technology infrastructure. For instance, if you are changing the way your data is stored and accessed or adding some new software applications to your business workflows, then you may need to take a look at your current plan and see if there is any need to update it to account for the recent changes. If you allow your business continuity plan to go out-of-date, then you are essentially rendering it useless for your updated infrastructure.
Looking for a Simpler Way to Disaster Recovery Planning?
Coming up with a business continuity plan requires a long-term outlook, an in-depth understanding of the modern IT risks that businesses face, and proven experience in efficiently responding to disasters. Understandably, this is a complicated and elaborate task. If you wish to make it hassle-free for yourself, then just have a managed IT services provider do all the hard work for you. This will not only make disaster recovery simpler, but also more cost-efficient for your business.