Modern business is more and more dependent on the availability of IT systems. 50% of medium and large enterprises cannot continue operating if their IT system is unavailable for more than an hour. In such a situation, businesses need to pay special attention to measures that allow them to manage risks and ensure business continuity.
IT outages affect a company’s revenue, employee efficiency, and brand reputation. According to a report by the U.S. company Datto, a minute of downtime costs a large organization an average of $11,700.
To avoid enterprise downtime due to IT failures, companies implement a Disaster Recovery Plan.
This guide to developing a disaster recovery plan provides general recommendations for recovering your IT infrastructure.
What is a disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan is a document, which outlines the steps to eliminate the consequences of the disaster and restore the data, a list of responsible employees with roles, a sequence of actions to protect and recover the IT infrastructure.
The main purpose of such a document – developing a clear step-by-step instruction with a timeline for specific roles; its implementation helps to solve the following tasks:
- Rapidly restore business IT infrastructure after a disaster;
- Ensure the operation of critical IT infrastructure functions during the main data center downtime;
- Save the company’s data.
A well-designed DR plan can anticipate and reduce the consequences of most IT failures, including:
- Software and hardware failures;
- Data corruption or loss;
- External cybersecurity threats;
- Employees’ errors.
A disaster recovery plan requires you to manage distribution between two physically separated data centers. The second site can be used to store data and virtual machine templates, or it can be a backup system that will assume the workloads for the period of a disaster.
To ensure business continuity, a company can duplicate IT services to its data center or use a disaster recovery service(aka DRaaS) often offered by reputable cloud providers.
6 steps to creating a backup and disaster recovery plan
Create a DR team. Designate employees who will be responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of the DRP, define the responsibilities of each team member, and provide their contact information. The DRP should also determine whom to contact in the event of a disaster.
Determine critical applications, documents, and resources. The organization must evaluate its business processes to determine which ones are critical to the organization’s operations.
Identify risks. The DRP outlines the main risks for the IT infrastructure and the threats that might occur during disaster recovery. It is also important to plan activities that minimize the risks or eliminate them. This helps the team determine the recovery strategies and resources needed to recover from disasters within a predetermined and acceptable timeframe.
Incident response system. To ensure that system disaster recovery starts on time, you need to quickly detect a failure in the IT infrastructure. Develop procedures for checking service performance. Include in the plan periodic system diagnostics and failure point monitoring of critical services and applications, reporting the problem before users do.
Create emergency response procedures. The DRP plan should detail the team’s actions to restore the IT infrastructure after the disaster. Employees should restore services, notify the responsible team members, and get the system up and running at the right time.
Perform routine tests. The final disaster recovery plan is tested to ensure that it would perform as needed. Exercising a recovery plan reduces the time employees take enacting.
A DRP plan is not a static document; it should be regularly reviewed and adjusted to the real business needs. The plan can be prepared by the provider of IT infrastructure backup services in the cloud. If you are developing a disaster recovery plan yourself, you can use this template.
Modern solutions for the implementation of disaster recovery plan allow you to provide a high level of business continuity at relatively affordable prices.