How to Formulate a Disaster Recovery Plan
It is the ideal time, then, to remind ourselves of the real mischief that can be caused if our IT networks get the heebie jeebies. Sadly, you cannot pay a spooked system off with treats to stop it crashing on you. Downtime is a serious problem for any business, enough to give even the hardiest of us the collie wobbles.
That is why it is essential to have a disaster recovery plan in place. If you haven’t, or you haven’t given yours much thought in a while, now is a great time to take a look, before you get a nasty surprise you won’t be laughing about.
What is disaster recovery?
Disaster recovery means taking steps to protect your digital assets should the worst happen. Nowadays, data is one of the most valuable currencies a business has. If you lose access to your files, your databases, your entire system, it means that some or all of your business cannot operate properly.
Ultimately, that will hit you where it hurts most - in the pocket. Whether it means losing revenue or just not being able to work efficiently, downtime costs.
Disaster recovery is all about mitigating against those potential risks. In its most basic form, it means backing up your systems so, should anything untoward happen, you can quickly get access to your critical files and programmes with minimum disruption.
Creating a disaster recovery plan
Developing strategies for effective disaster recovery is the subject of its own international business management standard. In other words, it’s a pretty big topic. But for the sake of a quick introduction, the first thing you need to do is identify the following:
The IT systems which would seriously affect business performance should they go down. These might include ERP systems, communications, CRM, security, payroll, accounts and so on.
The Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) for each system, or the maximum time you can allow for recovery before you start to suffer serious consequences.
The nature of the threat each system faces, be it server failure, cyber attack, power outage etc.
Your strategy for preventing a system outage.
Your strategy for responding to and recovering from an outage should one occur.
Preventative measures may include system diagnostics to identify potential threats so they can be addressed before anything untoward happens. This is often paired with automated failure alerts to give due notice as and when something goes wrong. Measures also include system security protocols, such as configuring firewalls, setting up anti-malware and using encryption on data transfer. It can also include things as simple as housing data centres in a secure location.
Response and recovery strategies include system back-ups for speedy recovery. Nowadays, more and more businesses are opting for remote Cloud back-ups in highly secure, high redundancy third-party data centres. Hosted disaster recovery services will offer incentives such as geolocation duplication, or storing your data at multiple locations, to double up on the insurance provided.
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