Over-the-shoulder view of a person waiting for their laptop to go through a disaster recovery processHave tiny blips in your network sent you into a panic? Do you lose sleep at night worrying about how much you could lose if you lost your data? These worries are far more common than they should be and far easier to address than you might think. Take the time to learn about and build a disaster recovery strategy so that you can rest easy.

Disaster recovery strategies might take a little more thought than just pressing a backup button, but with our help, a disaster recovery solution can be easily and quickly constructed. With a little thought, aspects of these plans can be made simple and fast enough to solve small-scale hiccups and brownouts. Many IT companies offer basic disaster recovery plans, but full business continuity planning can build these plans into your business and keep downtime and data loss to a minimum. Contact us today to get started protecting your business!


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Why Create Disaster Recovery Strategies?

Business disasters can come in many different forms: A virus invading your network, a fire melting down servers, or even just an employee unplugging something that shouldn't have been touched in the first place. Small mistakes and massive failures can very easily have the same results—a network that has gone down and a data center that has disappeared.

When one of these disasters occurs, you don't want to waste valuable time lost in confusion and fear. Disaster recovery strategies give you and your team a lifeline to grab onto. But more than that, they save you from wasted time, lost money, and unhealthy amounts of stress.

Incident Management Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

A laptop with floating graphics over it reading ‘backup data’ and showing disaster recovery-related symbolsIncident management plans (IMP) are often discussed in the same breath as disaster recovery plans (DRPs). IMPs and DRPs are part of your disaster recovery strategy and important tools for overall data protection and technology recovery strategies. This incident management plan has the goal of reducing the impact if there are unexpected incidents that cause delay or hardware failure. IMPs are often for smaller scale issues, hence why they don't usually address 'disasters.'

Nevertheless, IMPs and DRPs have different features. Incident management plans serve a business by codifying how to approach incidences of cyberattacks and the like. These help return your business to resume normal operations without delay. IMPs typically address problems and then follow up with post-incident analyses. This process means that you get a solution and then a long-term plan for preventing future issues.

On the other hand, a disaster recovery plan checklist usually comes into play after the incident has occurred. The point is to have a previous state of the business saved away to pull out later. So, even in the case of a total data loss, you can return to some level of function. This plan is a last resort but is ultimately necessary for emergency use. One key similarity to an incident management plan is that a disaster recovery plan should also track what caused your system failure and how to prevent it in the future.

What Are the Key Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan should include these essentials:

  1. A team of experts
  2. A complete inventory of your technology assets
  3. Risk assessments
  4. Disaster recovery plan examples
  5. Point objectives
  6. A disaster recovery setup
  7. Regular testing

These seven essentials form the foundation of good disaster recovery strategies and will cover the basics of what you need to return to typical operations.

Note that these are not always universal. We have worked with many different businesses, and everyone has unique needs to address in their disaster recovery plan. Reach out today, and we can discuss what your disaster recovery plan policies would look like.


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How Can You Create a Disaster Recovery Team?

Disaster recovery teams are important for delegating the many steps and stages of a DRP. Additionally, knowing who is responsible for what steps will prevent redundancy, inefficiency, and error during a critical and stressful time. You probably already should have a good idea of who should be on this team. Every good manager knows who on their team has experience and understanding of how the business works.

A disaster recovery team should be made up of experts, including IT experts or leaders who are essential to a team's operation. IT disaster recovery plan objectives can only really be led by an IT expert. IT professionals often have unique insights into what tools and software are required for your team to function. Team leads will have insights into the information, processes, and other things that their teams require for smooth work.

What You Should Know About Your Assets

A man stands in front of a server farm with his head held in distressCreating disaster recovery strategies requires you to have a very high-level view of your business. Create a list of all the assets you need to run a successful business, like your IT hardware, software applications, cloud services, mobile devices, and other devices. The data and information that your workers rely upon should also be utilized. A disaster recovery plan should include a full list of everything you need to function, such as critical applications and critical data.

This list should be updated regularly and should form a recovery point for your business's disaster recovery plan. The recovery point objective is to give you a plan and a goal of what to return to in the event of a disaster. Knowing is often half the battle, but gathering information takes time and effort. Disaster recovery planning cannot be done if you have no goal in mind, and the goal should always be to restore critical business operations.

How to Evaluate Critical Needs

This list must assess all critical business requirements and set priorities for what your operation needs. You should involve all levels of your business and organization so that there is no chance of critical information being missed. Developing a data recovery plan isn't just a management task. It should be built into the roles of your business on a basic level.

Recovery point objectives require transparency and interaction across multiple levels, which can be very difficult for larger organizations. But this can also cause issues in smaller businesses due to more personal investment. This reason is why many groups go outside of their business and outsource their disaster recovery planning—an impartial eye is sometimes better at sorting out priorities.

Keep Performing Risk Assessments

Every business carries unique attractions to potential hackers and unique risks for potential damage. A hacker targeting a hospital is doing so for different reasons than one targeting a retailer. IT support should regularly be doing risk assessment business impact analysis for your business' security, but risk assessment for disaster recovery is usually more in-depth than standard practice.

Most hackers and attacks won't be performed to stop your business from working. Hackers usually want to get private or financial information, steal what they can, and then leave. So, while standard risk assessments will help stave off some of the risks of disaster, DRP risk assessment will usually focus on more unusual or atypical hacks and viruses.


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Establish Recovery Point Objectives and Recovery Time Objectives

A recovery point objective (RPO) determines how often you should be backing up your data. The RPO is essentially just the furthest past point back in time that you know your business can survive if a disaster occurs and you have to reset to it. This point varies for everyone and requires a firm understanding of your information needs, as well as your business as a whole.

The RPO looks at how much data loss can occur before the organization begins to experience serious issues. If your business is constantly receiving new information, then you need to have a consistently fresh recovery point objective. If your data tends to be more stable, then you might be able to update less frequently. Disaster recovery requires you to have a very high-level view of your company.

Recovery time objective (RTO) is a fairly straightforward objective for how quickly you need to recover from system failure. If your network fails, then you aren't receiving new data, which is just data loss in a different form. This data loss might be from critical systems that need to be brought online as quickly as possible. The recovery time objective will help guide your disaster recovery plan as you enact it.

Test Backups, Restoration of Services, and Team Response

Just as businesses can suffer in disasters, the same can happen with backups. You have probably seen how backup and disaster recovery procedures not working as planned can result in delays or worse. A software error or hardware failure during data backup can cause corrupt files or unusable software, and all of your work will have been for nothing.

Regular testing of your disaster recovery plan is one of the best ways to ensure a successful restart. Running through your disaster recovery plan regularly is one way to ensure you have a successful disaster recovery process. To prevent wasted time and man-hours, your IT support team can regularly verify and test the integrity of backups. Backup and disaster recovery procedures need to work in concert for your business to survive.

Enjoy Peace of Mind with Dependable Disaster Recovery Strategies

Disaster recovery is stressful. When disaster strikes, you don’t have to be frantic, constantly running numbers for how much money has been lost. A robust disaster recovery plan will keep that number low and take away your stress. When cyber-attacks or power outages hit your business, you need a rapid recovery plan that will protect your sensitive data and protect your critical assets.

The best time to plan for a disaster was yesterday, but the second best time is today. If you are interested in discussing possibilities such as disaster recovery sites or a cloud disaster recovery strategy, look no further. Come to the professionals who will provide you with disaster recovery strategies or business continuity plan that will prevent your business from losing out on valuable time.


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Articled reviewed and endorsed by Branson Buchanan.