Whether it’s a cyberattack or a natural disaster, no company can consider their network or data center to be 100 percent secure. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place can help ensure business continuity if a catastrophe occurs.
To be clear: this blog focuses on the Information Technology aspect of disaster recovery only.
7 Key Components of a Disaster Recovery Plan
1. Hardware and Software Inventory
Disaster recovery begins with an inventory of each and every piece of IT hardware and software your organization uses. Make sure each application, machine, printer, etc. has vendor contact and contract information on-file.
Surveying your IT environment is also helpful for cyber security measures like penetration testing. If you haven’t taken a comprehensive IT inventory, we highly recommend doing one as soon as possible.
2. Identify Downtime Tolerance
Ideally, in the event of a disaster, your entire IT environment would be back up and running within a few seconds. However, this is not always the case. It’s often physically or financially impossible to make this happen.
Work with your IT department to develop acceptable recovery times for each piece of hardware and software. Then, create tiers. The most important, mission-critical hardware and software should be in the top tier. Rank everything else accordingly. This will help whoever’s responsible for executing the disaster recovery plan in a time of crisis.
3. Delegate Responsibilities
Understanding exactly who’s responsible for what during a disaster recovery event is of the utmost importance. It would be an especially bad time for anyone who’s part of the disaster recovery plan to not understand their exact role.
Whether you’re working with an internal IT department or an external company, make sure everyone is clear about what to do.
4. Communication Strategy
If your entire IT environment is breached or even physically destroyed, how are you going to communicate with employees?
Your disaster recovery plan should include a means of communicating with employees, both to let them know about the onset of the issue and to provide updates regularly.
5. Have Backups in Place
Every organization should have several data backups of all information on their network. This way, once the disaster is over, daily operations can resume as normal. If data is lost during a disaster and there are no backups, it’s gone forever.
In addition, having adequate data backups stored securely either on a physical server or in the cloud (ideally, both) will allow employees to work remotely if necessary.
6. Test the Plan
Your disaster recovery plan might sound perfect on paper, but it’s not until catastrophe strikes that you realize your strategy was flawed from the beginning. Run through a simulation of the plan with your IT department to ensure it’s airtight.
7. Think About Disaster Recovery as a Service
Disaster recovery as a service is highly recommended for all companies, especially those with relatively small IT departments or few resources.
Outsourcing to an expert allows you to slash costs and ensure your disaster recovery plan is flawless.