Over the past few years, cleaning up after cyberattacks has cost universities, governments, and private companies millions, without reputation damage and lost productivity factored in. Disasters come in many forms—from severe weather events to ransomware—and it’s impossible to predict them. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a disaster recovery or DR plan designed, applied, and tested before it is needed. Disaster recovery plans should be part of every business continuity strategy and, at the least, include the elements listed below.
An Inventory of Software, Hardware, and Equipment
The first step in building a disaster recovery plan is to take stock of the company’s IT resources. Companies must inventory all software, hardware, and peripherals that employees and networks use. This step will likely be the most time-consuming part of the plan, as it involves accounting for every cloud-based, on-premise, and mobile tool an organization uses.
Disaster recovery plans often focus on business decisions, and all stakeholders and departments must participate in the conversation. Begin by mapping the company’s infrastructure in consideration of all critical systems. Once that process is complete, key decision-makers can prioritize applications and systems by dividing them into tiers as follows:
- Mission critical. Recover these components immediately to prevent disruptions and data loss.
- Essential. An essential system is less critical and can be down for 24 hours without substantial impact.
- Non-essential. These applications are on the lowest tier because most businesses can work without them for days.
When prioritizing systems, setting objectives, and using disaster recovery services, executives must consider system dependencies.
A Set Tolerance for Data Loss and Downtime
With goals set, business leaders can define RTO (recovery time objectives) and RPO (recovery point objectives). Companies often use these metrics to determine their data loss and downtime tolerances, or in simpler terms, see how long a system can be offline without causing damage. Backup and disaster recovery services allow companies to get back up and running as quickly as possible.
A Disaster Recovery Team
A skilled disaster recovery services team is a great asset during times of crisis. Every team member has a defined role, so there are no questions about who is responsible for each part of the effort. DR teams must communicate with stakeholders while training colleagues on emergency response procedures and policies.
Even when a company uses SSH, RDP, VPN, or other access control technologies, remote work may be risky. This fact became apparent when the pandemic forced billions of people to work from home, and it also demonstrated the importance of cloud disaster recovery services.
A crisis is not the right time for a company to learn that its infrastructure cannot manage remote users securely. When building a disaster recovery plan, companies should include security updates that allow users to access data safely from the other side of a firewall. With cloud disaster recovery services, the process is effortless.
Do not wait for a disaster to find out if a plan works. Instead, implement comprehensive testing strategies and use them. Testing policies should accomplish goals such as:
- Testing backups to ensure that data is recoverable and secure.
- Testing backup and disaster recovery services for effectiveness.
- Determining whether team members know how to handle emergencies.
No company wants to rebuild after a disaster, but inclement weather, earthquakes, human error, and cyberattacks can happen at any time. With these and other crucial components, as well as help from Venyu, companies of all sizes can build better disaster recovery plans.