An IT disaster recovery or disaster relief plan is a guide that lays out all policies and procedures to recover a company’s IT systems and data. This guide attempts to provide an organization with a roadmap of actions to take in the event of a disaster or incident so that the response can occur quickly and lead to the restoration of operations.
Disasters can occur at any time and may take the form of a natural disaster or an IT event that leads to the loss of IT operations, data, and resources. Therefore, a comprehensive disaster recovery plan will go through all the different scenarios that may occur and identify a plan to respond to each. And while each scenario and organization will have a different disaster recovery plan, there are key elements that should be present in all plans, including:
- Goals: The disaster recovery plan should outline goals for the organizations and departments. Two common goals that should be included are the Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which tells you how much data loss is acceptable, and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which tells you the amount of time you need to recover all applications.
- Threat Analysis: Anticipating any disaster requires identifying the potential for the event. This process may include identifying potential natural disasters that threaten the area where your operations are based or trends in cyber attacks that may be used in a digital attack. The actions you would take in response to these threats may vary, so it’s good to have an idea of the likelihood of each event occurring.
- IT Assets: A disaster recovery plan should include a complete hardware and software inventory. This inventory should also discriminate between essential applications, those you will need within a day, and those that can wait a few days. This information can help you prioritize efforts and focus on those applications needed immediately. Then, once those have been restored, you can look at less critical ones.
- Staff Roles: You will need to identify who is responsible for each action item in a disaster recovery plan. Knowing these duties can ensure that staff and leadership are all on the same page and can respond quickly.
- Disaster Recovery Sites: Disaster recovery sites refer to alternative sites that could be used for all of the organization’s IT assets could be moved to in the event of a disaster.
- Response Procedures:Disaster recovery procedures are the crux of any disaster response plan. The organization can detail which events to anticipate and outline all steps required to restore operations based on a given event. This section of the plan should discuss communication procedures, data backup procedures, instructions for the response strategy, and any post-disaster activities that should be taken after operations are restored. The more detail that can be provided, the better-equipped staff will be to take action and carry out the entire disaster response plan.
- A Crisis Communication Plan: Communication can be one of the biggest challenges during a disaster. And usually, every second counts. Creating a clear strategy for crisis communication can ensure that employers, vendors, suppliers, and customers all know the information they need and understand what steps are being taken to manage the company after the event occur. Larger companies may also want to create media information that the PR team can use if the disaster is newsworthy.
- Testing Information: While it is great to have a plan, it can only be effective if everyone is aware of it and knows how to respond. Running regular practice tests a few times a year gives everyone greater exposure to the pan and its content. You can also look for red flags or procedures in the plan that may need to be optimized. For instance, a practice test may reveal that the internet connection at a backup location is insufficient to restore operations adequately. Running this test in advance allows you to address the issue before an actual disaster occurs.
- Plans for Updating: Many comprehensive disaster response plans lose relevance over time. As technology, solutions, and staff members change, the plan can quickly become outdated, making it less useful in the event of a true disaster. Writing deadlines into the plan for regular reviews is one way to ensure that it is looked at and updated to reflect current information.
As you can see, there are many aspects to disaster recovery plans. To learn more about creating a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, contact Sagacent Technologies today.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.