Designing an effective Disaster Recovery Plan
Disasters are unpredictable. They may occur due to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or even a terrorist attack. But not all disasters come in these forms with fancy names. A simple electrical short circuit or a failed air conditioning system can cause just as much damage. Your business should be prepared for such uncertainties, however big or small. And that’s where having a suitable Disaster Recovery plan comes in handy.
A Disaster Recovery Plan is devised to ensure the continuation of critical business applications in the event of a disaster. Having a plan in place provides an efficient solution, that can be used to recover all the critical components within the required time frame. Following are the essential steps to formulate a disaster recovery plan:
Step 1: Business Impact Analysis
A business impact analysis (BIA) predicts the consequences of disruption of a business process. First and foremost, you must begin with an accurate assessment of your current business scenario. You should know the amount of data you’re currently managing, it’s location and how integral the data is organization. Once you assess and have the necessary information, you can create an inventory of all the applications and data in priority order. This gives you an idea of the most important data in your organization, and how disruption of this data would impact your business. Business Impact Analysis is essential, in terms of going forward to devise a DR plan and making informed decisions.
Step 2: Risk Assessment
In this step, you need to identify the potential hazards and analyze what could go wrong when a disaster occurs. The several types of hazards include natural hazards, man-made hazards and technological hazards. And when these hazards occur, several assets could be in danger. Hence, appropriate emergency plans should be in place.
So, what are resources that you can use while doing a risk assessment?
- Company records of disruptive events
- Local libraries
- Geographical surveys
- Government agencies, etc.
Step 3: Risk Management Strategy
The next natural step after Business Impact Analysis and risk assessment is Risk Management. How and what can you do to mitigate the damage? Here is where backup and disaster recovery of critical data comes into the picture. Figure out and define your tolerance for Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
- RPO (how much data you can afford to lose)
- RTO (how quickly your business needs to be back in operation)
Businesses should properly identify these two metrics to successfully survive a disaster
Step 4: Testing your DR Strategy
Finally, you will have to ensure that the DR plan works effectively. Regular and frequent testing helps to solve any issue that arises. It is also important to revise and update the DR plan as businesses and IT environments keep on changing.
In essence, ensuring that your organization has a proper Disaster Recovery Plan in place can help you ease the stress and minimise the risk.