Disaster recovery. The organization can respond and recover from an event that negatively affects your business operations. Specific disaster recovery methods aim to enable the organization to regain critical systems and infrastructure as soon as possible. To prepare for this, businesses will often analyze their internal systems and create a business continuity plan to follow in times of crisis, leading to your disaster recovery plan.
What types of disasters should you be looking out for?
Many disasters will be caused by system failures or by humans carrying out an intentional attack. These attacks can be significant enough to stop business operations altogether. Some types of disasters to look out for:
- Cyber attacks such as malware
- Power outages
- Equipment failure
- Epidemics or pandemics, such as COVID-19
- Terrorist attacks or threats
- Industrial accidents
- Weather-related disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires
Disaster recovery and business continuity can be combined into a single initiative. While they both have similar goals, they are not the same. Business continuity is intended to minimize risk and help to ensure the business can continue to deliver products and services. They are focusing on how employees continue to work and how your business will continue operations while the disaster occurs. Disaster recovery focuses more on the IT systems that enable business functions. It will address specific steps that your business must take to resume technology operations following a disaster.
It is essential to analyze your business’s existing assets and priorities before determining disaster recovery strategies—two analyses in particular factor into this decision-making process – risk analysis and business impact analysis.
Risk analysis is an evaluation of the potential risks and the outcomes that your business could face. These risks can vary depending on the industry your business is in and its location. Assessments should help identify potential hazards, what these hazards could harm, and ultimately create procedures that take all of these risks into account.
Business impact analysis will evaluate the effects of the risks identified in your risk analysis. This can help to predict costs, both financial and non-financial. This analysis will also examine the impact of different disasters and the toll they can take on your business’s safety, finances, marketing, business reputation, legal compliance, and quality assurance.
What should be in your disaster recovery plan?
Your business should consider your disaster recovery plan a living document. Regular testing should be scheduled to ensure the method is always accurate and will work properly when required. By evaluating against consistent criteria, you want to be sure to look out for things that can affect your disaster recovery plan whenever there are changes in your business or IT systems. Some components your plan should include:
- A policy statement, plan overview, and main goals of the plan
- Key personnel and DR team contact information
- A detailed description of disaster response actions immediately following an incident
- A diagram of the entire network and recovery site
- Directions for how to reach the recovery site
- A list of software and systems that staff will use in the recovery
- Sample templates for a variety of technology recoveries, including technical documentation from vendors
- Communication that includes internal and external contacts, as well as boilerplate for dealing with the media
- Summary of insurance coverage
- Proposed actions for dealing with financial and legal issues