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A data disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document that works like a guide or road map for actions to take in case of data loss. You can build it with your IT team or hire a specialist to build the plan for your company.
The DRP can work as a map because it has every step to take in case of a disaster where you end up losing your data. That includes natural disasters, human error, or cyber-attacks (like ransomware).
It’s very important for data safety and for business continuity that you have a good disaster recovery plan as it will allow you to restore your business shortly after the disaster.
What is a data disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document that structures the approach of how the organizations can quickly resume work after an incident. Disaster data recovery plans allow businesses continuity and minimize downtime.
With a well-structured DRP, businesses can reestablish themselves fast after a disaster or an accident. It’s also relevant for cybersecurity, as you can include cyber attack prevention and what to do in case of a cyber attack.
Therefore, not only natural disasters are part of the data disaster recovery plan, but also any possible way your business can lose its data. From accidental data deletion to a hurricane.
The disaster recovery plan involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. It also presents strategies to minimize the effects of a disaster that help the business to return to work as quickly as possible.
Why is DRP important?
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 for business continuity after some disasters, since you’ll need more than a backup to keep working. Meanwhile, a disaster recovery plan can anticipate any kind of issue and instruct the steps after an incident.
Key elements to building a disaster recovery plan
There are some key components to building a disaster recovery plan for your business. When allied with good data protection practices, your recovery plan can create a continuity strategy.
1. 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.
2. 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 employees know 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.
3. Risk assessment management
A great 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.
An IT disaster recovery plan can anticipate the most likely disaster your business may face and prevent significant loss.
4. 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 third-party system.
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.
5. 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.
6. 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 barriers can protect your servers and devices.
7. 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 performed. It is vital to verify each component of your business continuity strategy to eliminate the possibility of anything going wrong.
8. Prepare a plan’s documentation
Having a document with all equipment, personnel, and inventory profiles, 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.
9. 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.
Example of a disaster recovery plan (DRP template)
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.
Includes all the rules about your DRP, such as how to make updates to it and what the plan covers.
Personnel contact info
The plan must have contact information from all personnel involved with the recovery, from the IT team to management and PR strategists.
Also, add the sequence to notify each person. The disaster recovery plan includes the hierarchy to follow when notifying the recovery team. For example, you may want to let the IT team learn about the incident before the PR team.
The overview of your equipment, data information (last backup day, size of the backup, etc.), and location.
Therefore, the disaster data recovery plan is not a document you make and leave in the desk drawer. You must review it and update it regularly.
Define here what your backup strategies are, as well as who has clearance to access them and how.
How many backups does the business have? Which type of data each backup is holding? How long is it between one backup and the next? Are there any offline and off-site backups? Where they are kept and what is the frequency of their update?
These are a few examples of questions to answer on this part of your DRP documentation.
Recovery plan overview
The plan updates, where it will be stored, which type of DRP you’re using, and the emergency alert.
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. Here you should answer what the plan covers as well. For example: does the data disaster recovery plan include both natural disasters and cyber-attacks? What other factors affect the triggering of 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.
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 who’s part of the plan on how to use it.
Record of plan changes
Make a log with all the changes made to the plan to keep your DRP updated. Every time an update is made to the plan, you must register it. This will help you track the plan and learn the best action to take based on the history.
Why you should have a data disaster recovery plan
A data disaster recovery plan is crucial for any business, especially those operating either partially or entirely in the cloud. Disasters that interrupt service and cause data loss can happen anytime without warning, such as an outage, a critical bug, or a natural disaster.
1. Minimize interruptions and downtimes
Every business needs to be able to recover quickly from any event that stops day-to-day operations, no matter what industry or size. Without a disaster recovery plan, a company can suffer data loss, reduced productivity, out-of-budget expenses, and reputational damage that can lead to lost customers and revenue.
2. Prevent data loss
Data loss is detrimental to any business, and a disaster recovery plan can help protect against external threats and internal accidents. With a DRP, data backups are stored on external devices and cloud storage services, so a business does not permanently lose company and client files.
3. Control the damage effects on your processes
Having a data disaster recovery plan allows you to minimize the impact of a disaster on your business processes. By having predefined procedures and protocols in place, you can quickly identify and address the issues caused by the disaster, preventing further damage and ensuring the continuity of your operations.
4. Identify innovative solutions
Disaster recovery planning requires identifying innovative solutions. Technologies like cloud-based data storage and backups simplify the process of archive maintenance, enhance the effectiveness of backups, and reduce the cost of scalability
5. Have a disaster budget and minimize your monetary loss
A disaster recovery plan helps you allocate a budget specifically for handling and recovering from a disaster. By having a budget in place, you can ensure that you have the necessary resources to restore your systems and data, minimizing the financial impact of the disaster on your business.
6. Train personnel with emergency procedures
Training your personnel on emergency procedures is an essential part of a disaster recovery plan. By providing training and conducting drills, you can ensure that your employees are prepared to respond effectively in the event of a disaster. This includes knowing how to safely evacuate, how to handle critical systems, and how to communicate and coordinate during a crisis.
7. Have an IT team prepared and trained for any disaster
Having an IT team that is prepared and trained for any disaster is crucial for a successful recovery. Your IT team should have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle various types of disasters, such as system failures, cyber-attacks, or natural disasters. They should also be familiar with the specific procedures and protocols outlined in the disaster recovery plan.
8. Comply with regulations
Disaster recovery plans help organizations meet compliance requirements while providing a clear roadmap to recovery. Some types of disasters that organizations can plan for include application failure, communication failure, power outage, natural disaster, malware or other cyber attack, data center disaster, building disaster, campus disaster, citywide disaster, regional disaster, and national disaster.
It also involves regularly backing up your data and storing it in a secure and compliant manner. This ensures that you have a copy of your data that can be easily restored in the event of a disaster, minimizing data loss and downtime.
9. Restore services quickly and safely
The ultimate goal of a disaster recovery plan is to restore services quickly and safely. By having a well-defined plan in place, you can minimize the downtime and ensure that your systems and data are restored as efficiently as possible. This includes having predefined recovery procedures, prioritizing critical systems and data, and regularly testing and updating the plan to ensure its effectiveness.
Types of disaster recovery plan
There are different types of disaster recovery plans that organizations can implement to ensure business continuity and minimize the impact of a disaster.
Contact SalvageData experts for help to create the best disaster recovery plan for your business.
Data Backup and Recovery Plan
This is the most basic type of disaster recovery plan. It involves regularly backing up data and having a plan in place to recover it in the event of a disaster. All companies, regardless of size, should have a data backup and recovery plan to protect their critical data
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.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
DRaaS is a comprehensive solution that combines cloud-based infrastructure and services to provide end-to-end disaster recovery capabilities. It includes backup, replication, and recovery services, often provided by a third-party vendor. DRaaS offers a high level of automation, scalability, and reliability
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.