A survey report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) revealed a shocking fact that about 25% of small businesses fail to reopen after a disaster. So, it is clear that a disaster recovery plan is a mandatory component for businesses.
A disaster can hit your business anytime, causing data loss, disruptions, downtime and ultimately loss of revenue and market reputation. It is not always possible to dodge disaster strikes. So, it is better to be ready with a disaster recovery plan to ensure fast restoration of services, minimal data loss, and minimal downtime.
As a business owner, you should focus on creating a disaster recovery plan(DRP) that can address any disaster. It is crucial to consider the potential weaknesses of your business when making your DRP and how to mitigate those vulnerabilities. To implement an effective DRP for your organization, you can consider a managed IT services provider. Here are five key steps to creating an appropriate DRP for your business.
1. Determine the critical infrastructure and assets
An IT infrastructure comprises multiple resources and several crucial processes essential to running your business. So, your first step in DRP development is to identify and understand the core infrastructure and assets that are mandatory for business operations to continue.
It is vital to do a thorough analysis of assets in your inventory, like servers, hardware, devices, data, etc. You need to make complete documentation of your asset’s location, the amount of data each asset can hold, and the criticality of that data. This will help you determine the criticality of assets and prioritize them accordingly. With this method, you will be able to identify the primary objects to secure through a DRP to continue the critical operations.
2. Conduct risk assessment
After determining the critical assets and infrastructure, the next step is to identify all possible threats to these assets. You have to understand how those assets can be impacted and what will impact your business. There can be different types of threats like cyberattacks, fire accidents, server crashes, natural disasters, power outages, or manual manipulations. Those threats can impact different components of your IT infrastructure and disrupt your business continuity.
To identify the impact of a disaster on your business, you can take the help of MSP to conduct a risk assessment. Risk assessment is the most effective way to identify gaps that can be exploited by hackers or can negatively impact your organization. With the result of a risk assessment, you can better understand your vulnerabilities and then plan on how to protect your IT infrastructure and business during a disaster.
3. Outline your recovery plan
After risk assessment, you have the information about your critical assets. Each component of your infrastructure has varied recovery objectives according to its value and impact on your business. You need to work with your IT department and key executives to confirm that each asset is labelled with a proper recovery objective. Defining the recovery objective is a vital step of your DRP as it determines the availability of your infrastructure.
There are two factors RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective). These two are the key to your database backup and disaster recovery scenarios. Let’s know about RTO and RPO and how they work.
RTO (Recovery Time Objective)
It defines the duration within which period a business process must be restored after a disaster to avoid any undesirable outcome associated with a break in business continuity. In simple words, how long your system can be unavailable. For each component, you need to assess:
- how much loss can you take if that application remains unavailable?
- How much revenue will you lose? Is it a significant amount?
- What are the consequences of the unavailability of your services to employees or customers?
RTO is vital for your disaster recovery strategic planning as it helps define the time limit of your recovery strategy.
RPO (Recovery Point Objective)
RPO indicates the maximum targeted period in which the amount of generated data loss can be afforded by an organization. You need to determine the maximum amount of data loss your organization can withstand.
For instance, if your organization backup data once a day at midnight and an accident happen at 8 am on the following day, there is a chance of losing the whole data generated in the last 8 hours. With an RPO of less than 8 hours of data, your business may face massive difficulty regarding data and revenue loss.
So, RPO is the most crucial factor to determine the frequency of your data backup or how often you need to back up your business data.
4. Explain the roles and responsibilities
After having the backup and disaster recovery plan in hand, the step is to define the roles and responsibilities of individual employees to proceed with the plan. You need to have a proper communication plan as well explaining the responsibility of the key executives to follow in the event of a disaster.
Your outline must include all information regarding the protocol of disaster handling and everyone’s responsibility. It can be like reporting an incident to the respective superior promptly, explaining the issues with internal IT, or informing your managed service provider—whatever the role and responsibilities are. It is crucial to clearly communicate an issue to the right person so that incident response teams can take immediate steps involved in the disaster recovery process.
5. Continually test and update your plan
It is not just a one time job. You next to consistently test and re-test your DRP to ensure its effectiveness and update that as needed. As the IT environment is ever-changing, plus your workforce may grow or shrink, and data is also ever-growing, you need to re-assess your IT infrastructure regularly and update your DRP accordingly.
These steps represent an overview of how you can develop a disaster recovery plan for your business. Nowadays, several companies prefer to choose an MSP partner to help them conduct a risk assessment of their IT infrastructure, make recommendations and develop a disaster recovery strategy for their business.
IT Outsourcing Companies in India have the tools and expertise to conduct a risk assessment, analyze your systems, review your policies and procedures and will help you to develop your disaster recovery plan. They also help you update your DRP and ensure that your organization remains prepared to withstand a disaster strike.