Technology is an essential part of modern businesses, and that technology going down can have disastrous consequences. Whether through a natural disaster or cyber-attack, IT disasters can strike anytime. A recent example is a COVID-19 pandemic, which upended many businesses’ operations and required a solid plan to navigate. Creating an effective disaster recovery plan is vital for a business operating normally should the worst happen.
What is a disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan refers to the tools and policies that enable the continuation of a company’s IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. This can involve storing data and IT systems at a secure off-site location, ensuring that business operations can continue as normal in the event of a disaster at the main site.
Essential rules of recovery
Effective disaster recovery planning involves several important rules that must be considered to give your business the best chance of resuming normal operations. You’ll find seven significant rules to follow when creating a plan here.
1. Be aware of risks
A disaster can strike anytime and impact your business in numerous ways. Therefore, you should always be aware of new developments that may disrupt your business. Once you’re aware of the risks facing your business operations, you can begin to create a recovery plan to deal with these issues.
2. Identify essential software
It can be hard to track if your business uses a lot of software. Create a comprehensive list of essential software, how they’re configured, and the owners’ contact details.
3. Back up your data
A disaster could result in the loss of critical data that could cripple your operations. Identify your most essential data and systems and ensure they are securely backed up. You should also store this data in a secure off-site location so that it can be easily retrieved should your main site be inoperable.
4. Discuss your plan with employees
In a sudden disaster, everyone in your organization must know their roles to get operations running as soon as possible. You should ensure your staff knows their roles in the recovery process. Create a list of staff and their duties and include contact details so you can easily communicate with them when disaster strikes.
5. Test your plan
Your plan may sound good on paper but might not work in practice. To ensure you’re ready, make sure to thoroughly test your plan beforehand so you can identify and fix any problems.
6. Ensure you can communicate
In a disaster, you must ensure that staff can still easily communicate with each other and customers. Modern businesses use many communication methods, so consider using a unified communications platform. This means that all communications will be on a single platform, making sharing and receiving information easier.
7. Calculate RTO and RPO
A key part of a disaster recovery plan is Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is the time your business can permit for recovering operations, and RPO is the amount of data the business can afford to lose. Calculating these will allow you to build a specific plan that helps your business return to normal.