It can be frightening to even think about. What would happen to your business if you suddenly lost access to your data and applications? Even for short periods, this can cause significant problems. Extended delays could be catastrophic.
Whether it’s a natural disaster, hardware failure, human error, or you’re a victim of cybercriminals, having a disaster recovery plan is essential.
To create an effective disaster recovery plan, follow this 12-step process.
Step 1: Impact Assessment
Disaster recovery planning requires a commitment from your organization’s leadership. Important decisions have to be made, so you’ll need to involve the right stakeholders to get an agreement on your plan.
This includes determining the impact of downtime, how long your organization can tolerate downtime before it has a financial impact, and what level of risk exposure is acceptable. The answers to these questions will help you build your plan, set priorities, and establish your objectives.
Step 2: Establish Objectives
Your impact assessment can help frame discussions about Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).
RTO is a measure of the amount of downtime you can have before full recovery occurs. RPO estimates the maximum downtime and data loss before it has a catastrophic impact on your business.
Step 3: Identify Resources
In case of an incident, you should already have a documented list of internal and external resources that are required to help you re-establish operations. This should contain:
- Contact information
Communication is crucial in disaster recovery. You should also detail who will handle communications during a disaster. Remember that you may need to notify those outside your organization, such as law enforcement or media.
Step 4: Document Infrastructure
Document your hardware, configurations, and infrastructure to help in case a rebuild is required. In a disaster, you may not need access to every piece of data you had stored.
Set priorities and list applications by priority level.
Step 5: Choose Data Storage/Recovery Methods
This is one of the biggest decisions you'll make: changing your back-up strategy from what is likely on-premise and moving it to the cloud. The method you choose for data storage will impact your recovery process.
We'd recommend you store your data backups in the cloud, or by using a cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provider. Spending time on a robust DR strategy will position your business and your assets for future growth.
Step 6: Define Incident Criteria
Incidents vary greatly. From a power outage to a natural disaster, you’ll want to define which events and criteria trigger your disaster recovery plan based on your RTO and RPO tolerances.
You should put in place automated alerts and ensure your staff knows what actions should trigger manual alerts.