What Makes a Disaster Recovery Plan Effective

disaster recovery plan

One of the most important risks to modern businesses is a disaster. If a natural disaster or a cyber attack knocks out a business network, the operations of the business will be disrupted. This may result in long-term outages or take a hard hit to a companies finances. There can also be a substantial amount of data loss.

Because of the nature of IT risks, you must put a mechanism in place to safeguard your business in case of a disaster. Thankfully, a managed service provider (MSP) can create an effective disaster recovery plan (DRP) for your business. The DRP allows your business to respond to unplanned incidents that may threaten the IT infrastructure of your company.

In this article, we discuss what makes a disaster recovery plan effective.

Regular Testing

An untested disaster recovery plan really won’t be much help. Without testing, you won’t know whether your backups are working or not. You will not know whether or not your supply chain partner is reachable. And whether or not your organization network is capable of restoring lost data very quickly. Testing is the only way to detect issues with your plan. It will also help to ensure everything in your DRP is staying up-to-date.

Your DRP must include how to test your disaster recovery environment including the methods and frequency of tests. The employees involved in the DRP must also be tested to gauge their responsiveness. The latest test determines how well your system will respond in an actual disaster and any issues discovered can be rectified on time.

Recovery Goals

Recovery goals differ from one organization to another.  You must access, identify, and take inventory of critical IT assets. Then, a maximum outage time and extent of recovery should be determined.

The recovery time objective (RTO) is the acceptable maximum time after recovery that a business must recover its files from backup. It is also a time for a company to resume normal operations. The maximum age of files that need to be recovered from backup is the recovery point objective (RPO).

Critical Documentation

An effective disaster recovery plan must contain contact information for recovery team members and personnel. Also, the list of software, their license keys, and the system to be used in the recovery process should be documented. Technical documentation of recovery technology from vendors are also key to a successful recovery. Business disaster requires financial, legal and media responses and should be part of an effective DRP. IT support companies can help you determine the critical documentation that you need for your disaster recovery plan.

Educate Staff

A disaster recovery plan without employees’ contribution is incomplete. All staff from top management to maintenance should be taught about the plans. In addition, the plan should be incorporated into your organization’s operation and staff training so all employees can become familiar with it.

Employees should be trained on how to put the plan into action by spelling out their roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster. Training should be updated as much as the plan and all new employees simulated drills

Rapid Response

An effective DRP must be easy to implement for rapid recovery from any disaster. Time is critical in disaster recovery, the plan must be concise but detailed enough. Ask yourself if there is anything in the current plan that may jeopardize the timely implementation of the plan. Copies of the plan should be sent to offsite locations for backup and easy access.

Secondary Location

A disaster may render your office unreachable. This means your employee needs a secondary site with the right infrastructure, space and communication system to carry out business activities. Such a site should be part of your DRP.

Ensure Compliance

If you operate in a regulated industry such as health and food processing, you must take all regulations into consideration even while operating in alternate sites due to a disaster. If you handle sensitive information, ensure that your plan layout procedures for handling it and preventing loss or compromise.

It is good to have a disaster recovery plan but an effective DRP is better. There are a lot of factors which goes into having an effective recovery plan and it will be challenging for your business to fully implement them due to lack of time or expertise. Outsourced IT companies are a great source of support and can help your business craft and create a solid recovery plan that will give you a peace of mind. Please feel free to contact SDTEK with any questions about putting together a secure disaster recovery plan for your business.

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