strategy, plan, DRP

The business world is a world of endless possibilities and risks. No matter how big or small businesses are, eliminating the factor of unforeseen circumstances that can cause lethal harm is impossible. The list of risks involved can begin with data loss and go on to security breaches. The unfortunate reality is that more than 94% of companies that suffer from data loss do not sustain in the long run.

So, do businesses have some way out? Certainly, they do. Businesses can have a Disaster Recovery Plan handy. Let’s discuss more about what DRP means and why businesses should have it.

What is Disaster Recovery Planning?

The activity of documenting a proper and specified structural approach that discusses how an organization/ business can minimize its downtime at the time of a disaster is called disaster recovery planning.

Subsequently, a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) acts as a roadmap for any business to recover and retrieve its existing data after a turn of unforeseen events. The unforeseeable events include all the naturally occurring disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and fires, along with man-made circumstances like malware, data thefts and cyberattacks.

The primary objective of a DRP is to ensure the uninterrupted operation of essential business functions during and after a disaster, facilitating a seamless return to normal operations.

Cloud computing significantly improves disaster recovery planning with scalable resources, remote data storage and flexible infrastructure, ensuring swift recovery and operations resumption during unexpected disruptions.

Why Is Disaster Recovery Planning Important?

These are some of the reasons that validate the importance of having a Disaster Recovery Plan from a business perspective:

Decreases Interruption

Whenever there is discourse or occurrence of disaster in the business surroundings, interruptions in the business processes are likely to happen. However, a Disaster Recovery Plan that is ready with the business can decrease the massive disruption that otherwise would have resulted in huge losses.

Reduces Damages

Disasters cause delays or interruptions and damage, which can sometimes be irreversible. But with a disaster recovery plan organization can certainly conduct a BIA (Business Impact Assessment) that can significantly determine the damage and help them reduce it.

Training Processes

When your organization already has prepared a plan, it won’t have to waste its time and resources in the training process of its staff. The DRP will act as a torchlight in the event of disasters.

Key Components of a DRP

Here are some of the key components of a Disaster Recovery Plan that any business should have a brief idea about:

Risk Assessment

The first and foremost key component of a Disaster Recovery Plan is assessing the risks that are involved in disaster and the repercussions that follow afterward. Though there is no fixed quantifiable measure to determine the exact risk and damages, businesses can take the help of RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) to draw some conclusions.

Business Impact Analysis

The next component is the analysis of the impact that disaster is going to create on your business.

Recovery Strategies

To make a DRP work well there have to be some strategies that need to be defined for establishing the set mandate and protocols for recovering data after the disastrous event has occurred.

Plan Development

Here comes the actual substance which includes developing a plan from scratch that has defined strategies, a dedicated DRP team, and a suitable BIA plan.

Testing and Maintenance

Lastly, the most underrated yet the most important component of a DRP, as without testing and maintenance no business will be able to function successfully at the time of disaster.

Types of Disaster Recovery Plans

There are various types of Disaster Recovery Plans; here are a few for your reference:

Virtualization Disaster Recovery

First up is the Virtualization Disaster Recovery plan. This plan uses storage and server virtualization to help bring systems back up in the event of a disaster. It keeps backups secure from natural disasters or cyber-attacks by storing them virtually.

Disaster Recovery as a Service(DRaaS)

The next type of plan is a DRaaS plan. This is primarily hosted by a third party, eliminating the need for organizations to prepare backup applications or solutions. It also involves replicating physical or virtual servers that act as a backup in the case of a disaster.

Data Center Disaster Recovery

The Data Center Disaster Recovery Plan is a plan that focuses on resuming business operations after a disastrous event that targets data, hardware, or software systems in a data center.

Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

Lastly, there is a Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery plan. This allows businesses to recover quickly after an event by restoring crucial data and systems to any geographical location via the cloud. 

Implementing a cloud disaster recovery plan involves strategic planning and execution. It often requires expertise in cloud computing consulting services to optimize resource allocation, ensure data security and maximize recovery efficiency. 

7 Steps to Create a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

This is the list of seven structured steps to create a successfully functioning Disaster Recovery Plan:

Step 1: Establishing Objectives and Priorities:

To begin planning a DRP one has to start by establishing the objectives and priorities of their recovery. This majorly includes the assessment of factors such as BIA, RTO RPO respectively.

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO):

The RTO is a specified time duration wherein the maximum tolerable downtime is acceptable to the organization.

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO):

The RPO is defined as the maximum acceptable amount of data loss measured in time before the disruption occurred.

Step 2: Identifying Critical Systems and Data:

The next step is to carefully and strategically identify the most critical systems and data that need to be recovered on priority. Additionally, one also has to keep in mind that the data systems should adhere to all the compliance requirements such as SSAE18, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

Step 3: Communicate Assign Responsibilities:

Further allocating responsibilities and communicating with the right people is very important. These people can be staff members and stakeholders varying from company to company.

Step 4: Developing Recovery Strategies:

This includes identifying alternative methods to continue operations, such as failover to redundant systems or cloud services, and prioritizing the recovery of essential functions based on their criticality to the organization.

Along with that it also includes data backup and restoration procedures, communication protocols, and resource allocation plans.

Step 5: Documenting the DRP:

Documenting the DRP entails providing clear procedures for response and recovery efforts, including step-by-step instructions for implementing recovery strategies, contacting details of key personnel, and other necessary resources.

Step 6: Testing and Training:

This is a very crucial step where things can either go all good or downhill because this stage assesses the applicability and practicality of the plan under different environments.

Step 7: Regularly Updating and Maintaining the Plan:

Last but not least regularly updating the plan as per the last risk mitigation plan and technologies can be an ideal step to ensure the full proofing of the DRP.

Some Hypothetical Ways Through Which DRP Can Help a Business

Disaster 1: Fault From the Data Center

  • In this scenario, the DRP would first focus on activating its protocols that are already listed.
  • The next step would be to reach out to the redundant systems and hardware for data backup.
  • Then it will firmly establish communication with the stakeholders to keep them informed about the situation.
  • Lastly, the next step would be to ensure that data is recovered and safe even after the fault in the data center.

 Disaster 2: Attack From Any Ransomware

  • Ransomware or malware attacks fall under the category of cyberattacks that are most likely to occur while dealing with data in businesses. So when a situation like such occurs the DRP would start isolating the affected system for the rest of the unaffected areas.
  • Then it would conduct a deep analysis of how much damage has been done so far and what can be done to retrieve it or save the unaffected areas.
  • As per the protocol, the DRP will also try to negotiate with the attackers and try to recover the data unharmed.

Best Practices for Planning a DRP

While implementing and planning a DRP these are some of the most important steps that businesses should not neglect:

Properly Defining Recovery Objectives

The businesses should clearly define the recovery objectives while sketching out a DRP. Once the objectives are clearly defined then it becomes easier for the business to focus on other things in a broader perspective as well.

Backing Up Data Regularly

One practice that businesses should adopt while figuring out the mandates of a DRP is regularly keeping their data backed up. This practice will prevent any last-minute hassles at the time of retrieving data. Additionally what businesses can invest in is a secondary site that has all their data secured and assists them in implementing redundancy.

Plan Out Documentation Procedure

Keeping the documentation planned out beforehand also is among the most important practices to carry out while planning and executing a disaster recovery plan.

Be Prepared with a DRP

The world of business is quite dynamic and there is no certainty that everything will go as planned. Thus, there always has to be a DRP ready for businesses to escape unexpected disasters and cyberattacks, and to retrieve data that restores business functionality to normal.

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