An IT disaster recovery plan is the process of planning in the event of a major IT disruption. It is a continuity plan to ensure that businesses get back on track quickly after a major technical disruption or failure.
The likelihood of a major IT disruption is fairly low, however, the consequences of a technical failure can be dire. Although it can be a sizable investment, it’s sometimes best to have a disaster recovery plan in place just in case, especially for larger businesses. Without a disaster recovery plan, businesses risk:
- An extended inability to perform operational tasks
- An inability to communicate with clients/customers,
- Crucial systems being down to customers preventing conversions
- An inability to recover lost files
- Financial loss
- Damage to reputation
Each IT disaster recovery plan will vary depending on the size and needs of the business and budget. However, all DRPs should include the following steps to ensure a practical, effective process:
- Identification of critical IT systems, networks, and hardware
- Prioritisation of RTO
- Outlining the steps needed to restart
- Reconfiguration and recovery
There are three major types of IT disaster recovery; Cold Sites, Warm Sites, and Hot Sites. Understanding the differences between these types, and where your business stands, can help you to work with disaster recovery experts to plan an effective DRP.
- Cold Sites
A Cold Site is the most simplistic type of IT disaster recovery type. This contains elements of networking capability, power, and cooling. It does not contain elements such as hardware, servers, or storage.
- Warm Sites
Warm Sites contain all of the elements of Cold Sites, plus some hardware elements such as storage, servers, and switches.
- Hot Sites
A Hot Site is a fully functional backup in the event of a disaster. An identical facility is set up at a remote location, fully equipped with all of the relevant hardware, data, security, and software ready to go in the event of a disaster. A Hot Site DRP is particularly useful in the financial, healthcare, banking, and legal sectors, but can be very costly.
A backup relates only to the process of creating multiple copies of data in the event of losing data. This may be a result of accidental deletion, database corruption, or software issues.
Disaster recovery, on the other hand, is the process of creating a plan for quickly reestablishing access to hardware, software, networks, data, and other IT resources in the event of technical failure.