Modern businesses are dependent on technology for successfully carrying out client orders and progressing in the industry. Staying competitive in an oversaturated market is a difficult task that depends not only on the marketing strategies of the organization but also on the overall business preparedness for eventual economic, governmental, cultural, and environmental changes that may affect the business continuity (BC).
Businesses that try to take advantage of technology innovations have a wide range of opportunities for development, yet, their growth is closely related to the IT platforms it relies on. The importance of having an efficient organization and a trustworthy IT personnel in place is especially evident in the case of a security breach and an unexpected disaster.
What is the Disaster Recovery Plan? Since businesses operate in an ever-changing environment they need to be prepared for the consequences of an eventual drastic change. The unexpected severe changes in the business environment which can directly sabotage the continuity of operation of the business are called disasters. Guaranteeing the long-term safety and prosperity of the business depends on a number of factors, among which disaster recovery planning (DRP) takes a central position.
The disaster recovery plan ( DRP in short ) is a documented set of procedures which are carried out in the case of a business-threatening event. The DRP provides information about the specific processes which need to take place during and after a specific event that can harm the continuity of the business. In this sense, the DRP can also be called a Continuity of Operations Plan ( COOP ). The main and most important objective of the disaster recovery plan is to prevent data loss and ensure business operations are recovered fully in a timely manner.
Key Steps For Building an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan
Evaluating Possible Threats
The first step of disaster recovery is evaluating the potential threats and categorizing them according to several factors, such as the likelihood of occurrence and expected damage. In order to correctly evaluate the dangers, businesses need to have a better understanding of the possible threats.
Classifying Business Disasters
There are several types of disasters that a business can face. Disasters can be separated into two main categories: natural and man-made. They can include severe weather conditions, flooding, earthquakes, damaging winds, etc. as well as data breaches, civil riots, terrorist attacks, robberies, hardware failure, and more.
Planning and Prioritization
Due to the wide variation of disaster types, there are numerous ways for businesses to handle them effectively. The business disaster recovery plan is unique for every different event and it’s based on the various external factors, such as the location of the business, the industry in which it operates, the resource base on which it relies for day-to-day operations, and more.
Some disasters such as a short-term power outage or internet connection loss can be easily handled with the use of an in-house generator or a secondary internet provider. In these cases, the disaster will most likely cause a light issue that can be quickly managed.
But what happens in the case of an unexpected hardware failure, or a server room flooding? Disasters of this category directly affect the business continuity. They can take minutes to several days for a complete recovery depending on the company’s preparedness. Based on the level of impact of the disaster the business can either recover quickly or face an intolerable amount of damage that can completely wipe it out of the industry market.
Creating Data Backups
Disaster recovery planning ( DRP ) is directly connected to data loss prevention ( DLP ) and aims at providing a quick and effective strategy for data recovery with minimum negative impact on the performance of the business. Creating data backups of important company data systems is critical to establishing an effective disaster recovery plan.
Data backups can be stored on either a physical hard drive or an external cloud server.
Physical hard drives are a reliable solution in a case of internet connection loss and sometimes provide a greater amount of storage space compared to cloud storage. Yet, the technology innovations have turned cloud backup and data storage into a preferable choice.
Cloud data backups provide an offsite protection against local threats. Such threats may include fire, flooding, electrical power surge, system failure, and more. Cloud backup and storage services also provide full accessibility to data archives from every device.
Disaster Recovery as a Service
Studies show disaster recovery services are 70% more effective than an in-house approach and can provide more than 100% return on investment (ROI). While building a disaster recovery plan for businesses might be possible without the external help of a B2B company, relying on disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) usually proves to be a much more cost-effective solution.
Technology innovations in cloud computing have allowed the cloud industry to grow and expand its service reach on a much greater scale. Nowadays, cloud service providers offer a variety of services including IaaS, DRaaS, and more, which aim at providing maximum security for the business continuity of SMEs and large enterprises.
DRaaS providers offer different service packages that may or may not suit a specific business. Thus, choosing the right DRaaS should be made according to the unique needs of the company. Here are some the key steps that business owners need to make when choosing a cloud service provider that can handle the business disaster recovery planning.
Downtime and Data loss Tolerance
An important step of building a DRP is defining the tolerance of the business for system downtime and data loss. Based on the specific system that’s been hit and the business’s dependence on a service, companies can tolerate a downtime maximum of several minutes to a few hours or even a day. The disaster tolerance of the business can be expressed with the help of the following terms:
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) - This is the maximum amount of targeted time a business can tolerate downtime and data loss. This includes time for diagnostics and complete data recovery. Choosing a DRaaS with a recovery time objective of around 30 minutes is one of the best solutions on the market.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) - The recovery point objective defines the age of files which need to be recovered in order for the business to continue operations with minimum data loss and process disturbance. The innovations in cloud computing can deliver an RPO of less than 10 seconds which drastically improves data loss prevention.
The recovery time and recovery point objectives delivered by a DRaaS provider are directly affected by the location of the servers. Locally based DRaaS providers can restore data much more quickly than companies with headquarters based on a large distance from the business. This means less downtime and data loss and a more effective DRP.
Another important advantage of DRaaS services is the option for instant disaster detection and event analysis with real-time alerts. Quick response time minimizes the damage a business can take from an unexpected disaster.
To ensure the maximum effectiveness of a disaster recovery plan testing needs to be made at least twice per year. Modern DRaaS solutions can offer monthly testing which guarantees the safety of the business during a disaster and allows planning for future unexpected events.