A disaster recovery plan is a documented process to recover and protect a company IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Basically, it provides a clear idea on several actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster.
Disasters are natural or man-made. Examples include industrial accidents, oil spills, stampedes, fires, nuclear explosions/nuclear radiation and acts of war etc..
Disaster cannot be eliminated, but proactive preparation can mitigate data loss and disruption to operations. Organizations need a disaster recovery plan that includes formal Plan to think about the impacts of disruptions to all crucial businesses processes and their dependencies. Phase wise plan includes the precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions.
The Disaster Recovery Plan is to be prepared by the Disaster Recovery Committee, which includes representatives from all crucial departments or areas of the department’s purposes. The committee’s responsibility is to prepare a timeline to establish a reasonable deadline for finishing the written plan. The also responsible to determine critical and noncritical departments. A procedure used to ascertain the crucial needs of a department is to document all the functions performed by each department. Once the primary functions are recognized, the operations and procedures are then ranked in order of priority: essential, important and non-essential.
Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before generating a comprehensive plan, an organization frequently performs a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk analysis (RA), and it establishes the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). The RPO describes the previous point in time when an application must be recovered.
The plan should specify the roles and responsibilities of disaster recovery team members and outline the criteria to launch the plan into action, but there’s absolutely no one right type of disaster recovery program, nor is there a one-size-fits-all disaster recovery plan. Basically, there are three basic strategies that feature in most disaster recovery plans: (a) preventive measures, (b) detective measures, and (c) corrective steps.
(a) Preventive steps: will attempt to prevent a disaster from happening. These measures attempt to identify and reduce risks. They are designed to mitigate or prevent an event from happening. These steps may include keeping information backed up and off-site, using surge protectors, installing generators and conducting routine inspections.
(b) Detective measures: These measures include installing fire alarms, using up-to-date antivirus software, holding employee training sessions, and installing server and network monitoring program.
(c) Corrective measures: These measures focus on repairing or restoring the systems following a disaster. Corrective measures may include keeping crucial files in the Disaster Recovery Plan.
The Plan should include a listing of first-level contacts and persons/departments within the company, who will declare a disaster and activate DR operations. It should also include an outline and content saying the exact procedures to be followed by a disaster. At least 2-4 potential DR sites with hardware/software that matches or exceeds the current production environment should be made available. DR best practices suggest that DR sites should be at least 50 miles away from the existing production site so the Recovery Point Objective (RPO)/Restoration Time Objective (RTO) requirements are Happy
The restoration plan must provide for initial and ongoing employee training. Skills are needed in the reconstruction and salvage stages of the recovery process. Your initial training can be accomplished through professional seminars, special in-house instructional programs, the wise use of consultants and vendors, and individual study tailored to the needs of your department. A minimal amount of training is necessary to assist professional restorers/recovery contractors and others having little knowledge of your own information, level of significance, or general operations
An entire documented plan needs to be tested entirely and all testing report should be logged for future potential. After testing procedures have been completed, an initial”dry run” of the plan is done by conducting a structured walk-through test. The test will provide additional information regarding any further steps that may need to be included, changes in procedures that are not effective, and other appropriate adjustments. These may not become evident unless an actual dry-run test is performed. The plan is then updated to correct any problems identified during the exam. Initially, testing of the plan is completed in sections and after regular business hours to minimize disruptions to the general operations of the organization. As the program is further polished, future evaluations occur during regular business hours.
When the disaster recovery plan was written and tested, the program is then submitted to management for approval. It is top management’s ultimate responsibility that the organization has a documented and tested plan.
Another important factor that is often overlooked involves the frequency with which DR Plans are upgraded. Annual updates are recommended but some industries or organizations need more frequent updates because business processes evolve or because of faster data growth. To remain relevant, disaster recovery plans should be an essential part of all business analysis procedures and must be revisited at every significant corporate acquisition, at every new product launch, and at every new system development milestone.
Your business doesn’t stay the same; businesses grow, change and realign. Not only should it be assessed, but it must be analyzed to ensure it would be a success if implemented.
When things go awry, it is important to have a robust, targeted, and well-tested disaster recovery program. Without a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan, your company is at exceptional risk of loss of business, hacking, cyber-attacks, loss of confidential data, and more.