With the aggressive rise in cyber crime, a comprehensive disaster recovery plan is essential for all businesses, large or small. These days, it’s important you consider when your business will fall victim, no longer if.
In 2021, a business fell victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.
Of course, ransomware and other cyber attacks are just one threat to your business continuity; power cuts, hard drive corruption, flooding and other natural disaster pose a risk to your business too. Ask yourself, if the worst were to happen to your IT systems, could your business recover?
What is a disaster recovery plan?
The purpose of a disaster recovery plan (DRP) is to minimise downtime in the event of an IT infrastructure or data disaster. It’s a written process that should detail how your business would respond in such an event to ensure business continuity.
If you don’t have such a plan in place, or you’re reading this thinking ‘I hope my IT provider has this sorted’ – read on!
The 4 essential steps to creating an effective disaster recovery plan.
Step #1. Risk assessment.
The first thing you need to do to be sure you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan is carry out a risk assessment. This involves firstly identifying any prevalent risks to your business’ data and then the solutions currently in place to help mitigate them.
Take malware as an example: the impact of a malware attack on your business would be detrimental, making it a high risk. However, if you have anti-malware protection and some form of firewall, the risk may be reduced to low. If said anti-malware protection is a free or off-the-shelf solution, it may not be robust enough for your needs and the risk may increase to moderate.
This step is useful in helping you understand how your systems connect and how a disaster could not only slow your business down but could impact crucial applications, grinding your business to a complete halt.
Step #2. Set clear objectives.
Two types of objectives must be set in your disaster recovery plan: A recovery time objective (RTO) and a recovery point objective (RPO).
A recovery point objective states the frequency of backups, which dictates how far back in time data will be recovered from in the event of a disaster.
A recovery time objective defines how long it will take for the data to be recovered and for business to continue as normal.
These objectives will vary depending on the importance of the application to the operation of your business. Critical applications will need to be backed up more frequently and have a faster recovery time, while non-critical data can carry a lower priority.
Step #3. Response strategy and solution review
At this stage, you need to establish roles and responsibilities for all those involved in the event of a disaster. Think of it as an operating theatre – with each person clear on their role in the procedure, the response is faster, and the process is more effective.
You should also consider the location of your data and how that aligns with your disaster recovery plan. Your data may be stored on-site or in the cloud. There are pros and cons to both and it’s important your find the right solution to suit your business. If you think a switch would benefit your planning, you should look into it now.
Step #4. Put your plan to the test.
You would never wait for a fire to test your smoke alarm and your disaster recovery plan should be no different. You should carry out multiple tests covering various disasters to make sure your plan is effective in minimising downtime and data loss in every worst-case scenario. Analyse the outcome of every test and adjust your plan as necessary.
Once you have a disaster recovery plan you can be confident in, don’t get complacent. The way your business handles data and the software it uses will undoubtedly change over time. Even minor changes or staff turnaround can impact the efficiency of your recovery plan. Continue to test your plan regularly to make sure you’re always ready to protect your business in the event of a disaster.
We don’t just support your IT, we support your business
If you don’t already have a disaster recovery plan in place, or you have one but have no idea of its content, now is the time to act. From cyber attack rates doubling to a global pandemic forcing most businesses outside of their comfort zones, the last 2 years have taught us that anything can happen.
We’re on hand to help! Give us a call, or drop us a message and get your business to a safe haven you can be confident in.