What is a Disaster Recovery Plan and its Stages?

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Technical disruptions can be a huge problem for organisations, leading to significant downtime, loss of data, and loss of revenue, but is there a way to plan for this, and minimise the risk or the impact of technical disruptions? In this article, we discuss the importance of a disaster recovery plan, and the stages of creating such a plan.

So, what is a disaster recovery plan and its stages? A disaster recovery plan helps businesses to prepare for the event of technical disruption and contains detailed instructions on how to respond. Stages include a risk assessment, evaluation of critical needs, setting objectives, collecting data and creating the document, and testing.

Read on to learn more about the importance of a disaster recovery plan, and how to create one.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan and Why is it Important?

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document that helps businesses prepare for the unfortunate event of technical failure or disruption. Such events can have a huge impact on business operations, from prolonged downtime to loss of data and loss of revenue. Therefore, it’s important to create a DRP that minimises the risks associated with technical failures, and minimises its impact on operations.

It’s important that businesses don’t underestimate the impact that technical failures can have on day-to-day operations and consider any long-term effects. Business leaders and IT teams must understand the importance of taking the time to implement a disaster recovery plan in order to minimise this impact.

Benefits of Implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan

To help you understand why implementing a DRP is so important, we’ve listed some of the key benefits below:

Drastic Reduction in Recovery Time

Having a detailed disaster recovery plan that is tried and tested means that you can drastically reduce any downtime and associated recovery time. What’s more, a plan will allow you to prioritise the critical functions that need to be recovered first so that operations are not dramatically affected.

Limits Losses in Revenue / Other Costs

By reducing the recovery time, you’re also ensuring that you’re limiting any losses in revenue and other costs that are a result of downtime.

Minimises Interruptions to Daily Operations / Critical Functions

Alongside minimising financial losses, implementing a disaster recovery plan can also ensure that your daily and critical operations are impacted less. When you create your DRP, you can prioritise particular areas of the businesses that will be affected the most by downtime, ensuring that they are back up and running in good time.

Minimises Negative Impact on Brand and Reputation

Significant downtime as a result of technical failure has the potential to impact your brand and reputation. An effective DRP can significantly reduce recovery time and, as such, have less chance to impact your reputation.

Detailed Plan of Action

Creating and implementing a DRP means that you and your team have a detailed plan of action, should technical failure occur. This means that you can spend less time planning at the point of failure and, instead, efficiently get on with the recovery process.

What Does a Disaster Recovery Plan Include?

An effective disaster recovery plan should be a detailed step-by-step plan, including goals, objectives, and personnel involved, that will allow you to quickly recover after technical failure. The below list gives a basic outline of what should be included, but a DRP should go into more detail than this suggests.

• Goals – Outline what you want to achieve, including recovery time, and recovery objectives

• Personnel – Detail the personnel that are responsible for the execution of the DRP

• Inventory – Keep an up-to-date IT inventory, including hardware, software, and any cloud assets

• Backup Procedures – Detail how each data resource is backed up; where, on which devices, in which folders, and recovery processes

• DR Procedures – Detail the emergency responses, including last-minute back-ups, mitigation procedures, limitation of damages, and eradication of security threats

• DR Sites – Designate a hot disaster recovery site

• Restoration Procedures – Implement a detailed restoration plan from a loss of full system operations. Every detail to get each aspect of the business back online should be included in this plan

What are the Main Steps to a Disaster Recovery Plan?

Risk Assessment

You should first perform a risk assessment and a business impact analysis that addresses potential failures, and their impact upon the business. Consider this from the perspective of both middle-of-the-road and worst-case scenarios.

Evaluate Critical Needs

The next step in a DRP is to establish priorities and critical requirements of each department. You should ensure to include a variety of considerations, including:

• Special security procedures • Availability • Cost • Duration • Hours of operation • What constitutes as an emergency • Non-mainframe resource requirements • System testing • Termination conditions • A system to notify users of changes • Personnel requirements • Specifications on required processing hardware/other equipment • Service extension negotiation process • Other contractual issues

Set Disaster Recovery Plan Objectives (RPO)

You should next create a list of critical operations in order to plan for business continuity. From here, you can determine which data, applications, equipment, and user accesses are necessary to business continuity.

Based on cost and downtime, you can then determine the number of hours that critical functions can be offline without having a negative impact on the business. Collect Data and Create the Written Document

Collect the data for all of the above sections, and collate it into a well structured, easy-to-understand plan

Test and Revise

Develop criteria and procedures for a robust testing plan. This is an essential part of the DRP to ensure that your plan is suitable against your goals and objectives, is feasible, and efficient. It also allows you to create a secondary plan ensuring that your team is trained and ready to handle any potential disasters.

IT Disaster Recovery Planning Services with 777 Networks

Our experts at 777 Networks can help your business navigate the assessment, production, testing, and maintenance of a clear, and efficient disaster recovery plan so you can be back up and running in the event of any disruptions to your systems. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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