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What is a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) & How To Safeguard Your Business Data

Developing A Disaster Recovery Plan: Everything You Need to Know to Safeguard Your Business Data

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Your business data is one of the most important assets of your company. And for this must keep a good backup plan to always have access to your data. However, just like you plan sales and seasoning promotions, you must have a disaster recovery plan to face any kind of problem your data may face.

You may wonder “why does my business need a disaster recovery plan”? The answer is simple: so you can still have a business after a disaster reaches it. It can be a natural disaster, ransomware, server issues, and many other problems. And, your backup, being an off-site backup or not, can also get corrupted.

A disaster backup plan will help you set back your company faster, keeping you on business no matter what.

Reasons to have a data disaster recovery plan

  1. Minimize interruptions and downtimes.
  2. Control the damage effects on your processes.
  3. Have a disaster budget and minimize your monetary loss.
  4. Train personnel with emergency procedures.
  5. Have an IT team prepared and trained for any disaster.
  6. Build compliant backups.
  7. Restore services quickly and safely.

Common disasters that have faster outcomes with a recovery plan

Unquestionably, regular data backups are essential when a server goes down, or your data center suffers a power outage. However, it may not be enough during some disasters, since you’ll need more than a backup to keep working.

Technical issues. Inconsistent error handling, flaky hardware, bit rot, phantom writes and more may give a user file systems problems they won’t be able to handle. 

Increased downtime. Data backups alone can’t guarantee a quick recovery. This means all the necessary applications won’t be running, and your workers won’t be able to access data until the company’s systems are restored. 

Security concerns. While it’s your responsibility to ensure your files are as secure as possible, information placed in cloud backups remains vulnerable to the same threats on the Internet as a whole. And, on-site backups are under the same natural risks as the rest of your devices, while off-site backups may need constant verification and a secure environment to be stored.

Infrastructure outages. Most errors are caused by humans, hardware failures, power supply issues, or network disruptions. Natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes are rare and sometimes predictable, giving time for preparation.

A Data Recovery Plan poses multiple approaches that include assessing the value of the data and identifying the step-by-step processes needed to get your organization back on track. After all, the main purpose is to ensure your assets, information, and hardware are protected enough to recover from a disaster in the shortest time possible.

Example of a disaster recovery plan structure

You can follow this template, building your disaster recovery plan by adding your company’s information for each topic.

  • Objectives and goals of the recovery plan

Here you can say the purpose of the document and your goals with the disaster recovery plan.

  • Policy statement 

Include all the rules about your DRP, such as how to make updates to it and what the plan covers.

  • Personnel contact info

All personnel involved with the recovery, from the IT team to management and PR strategists. It must contain their names and all contact information. Also, add the sequence to notify each person.

  • Inventory profile

The overview of your equipment, data information (last backup day, size of the backup, etc), and location.

  • Backup procedures

Define here what your backup strategies are, as well as who has clearance to access them and how.

  • Recovery plan overview

The plan updates, where it will be stored, which type of DRP you’re using, and the emergency alert.

  • Risk Management

Any potential risk, with its probability and impact rating, as well as its consequence and action to take to prevent or minimize.

  • Plan triggering events

Define exactly which kind of disasters will actuate the DRP.

  • Media contact, rules, and strategy

Define who will talk to the media and how the communication will take place. Be specific and go so far as to determine what type of disasters may demand different media contacts. 

  • Insurance

Specify insurance policies along with errors, omissions, and general liability.

  • Financial and legal issues

Determine how the data loss will be tracked and how it affects the business financially and legally. Also, here is where you can designate a budget for the recovery process.

  •  Rebuilding and restoring process

Estimate the average time to start the rebuilding process, and assign by name those who are responsible for each task.

  • Testing the disaster recovery plan

To ensure your plan is valid and can be used, you must regularly test it, and also train everyone that’s part of the plan.

  • Record of plan changes

Make a log with all the changes made to the plan to keep your DRP updated. 

Types of disaster recovery plans

Virtualized disaster recovery plan. This is the fastest way you can restore your business data after a disaster. It involves replication and to guarantee its success, the company should copy virtual machine (VM) workloads off-site on a regular basis.

Network disaster recovery plan. The network recovery plan includes information specific to the network, such as performance and staff.

Cloud disaster recovery plan. It can scope file backup procedures in the cloud to replication. This is usually the less expensive plan. 

Data center disaster recovery plan. This is exclusively for data center facilities and infrastructure. The data center recovery plan must address a broad range of ‌disaster scenarios.

Contact SalvageData experts for help to create the best disaster recovery plan for your business.

Key elements to building a disaster recovery plan

There are some key components to building a disaster recovery plan for your business, Allied with good data protection practices, your recovery plan can create a continuity strategy.  

Define RTO and RPO

RTO stands for recovery time objectives, which is the estimated time your business will require to recover after a disaster. It relies on effective communication within your team and can be increased through the proper assignment of roles. 

RPO stands for recovery point objective and defines how much data you can afford to lose in case of a disaster. For example, if you define a one-hour gap, then you must schedule hourly backups.

Create an emergency management team

It’s important to instruct exactly what your employees’ roles and liabilities are, and assign those responsible for setting up workstations, replacing hardware and equipment that was damaged, redirecting phone services, and so on. 

Then you can guarantee all personnel knows their duties, minimizing the impact of a disaster on your business. This also increases the response time.

Remember to keep the team aligned and well trained so the recovery plan can work with no problems other than the disaster per se.

Risk assessment management

A major part of the disaster recovery planning process lies in the assessment of potential risks and menaces to the organization.

A good IT risk assessment must involve all incident types, their likelihood, and the impact each may have on the organization’s ability to continue to deliver its regular business services. 

main disaster risks

Temporary backup server strategy

A temporary backup server strategy will require a credible disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) provider that can implement off-site cloud-based backups using a system like Veeam. 

It will allow your team to use Instant-On Server technology to spin up an exact copy of your server in the cloud so that your employees can maintain business processes and continue working in the wake of a catastrophe. 

Server-side replications may reduce your hardware recovery time from days to minutes. 

Emergency backup power system

Installing a generator is a great option in the event of a sudden power outage. A standby generator can cope with local power surges and severe power outages caused by natural disasters. 

Just be sure to hire a certified electrician to help you identify the right system for your business needs.

Make a recovery plan for physical equipment

This one is ‌vital for companies ‌in areas with seasonal natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes. Due to the need to get the equipment protected from adverse weather. 

Make preparations to create fast protection against water and fire on your devices. Having a budget dedicated to equipment replacement is also a good idea, since not always your barrier that can protect your servers and devices.

Backup testing procedures

Be sure to back up your information at regular intervals. It’s a good strategy to have more than one backup, such as keeping a backup on-site and another off-site. Cloud is also a good solution for small time-lapse schedule backups.

Also, remember that your Disaster Recovery Plan is only as good as the last test you have performed. It is vital to verify each component of your business continuity strategy to eliminate the possibility of anything going wrong. 

Prepare a plan’s documentation

Having a document with all equipment, personnel, and inventory profile, can make it easier when you have to use the plan.

Also keep a structured log of all backups with date, time, and location. This can provide rapid company restructuring after a disaster.

Disaster recovery procedures 

A well-trained team will know what their assignment and duties are as a disaster takes place. This creates a great response time, with documented procedures.

Also, you’ll need to document every action taken after the disaster to recover the data and any equipment loss.

Your backups also must comply with all regulations, therefore, you must estimate the loss of data you can’t save due to time passed after the last backup or law requirements.

TL; DR: A disaster recovery plan is essential to ensure your business survival in case of a disaster, being human-made or natural. Following the structure and adding all key elements you can minimize downtime and restore your work fast and securely.