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How to Set Up a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

A disaster recovery plan is your business’ blueprint to stay open following a crisis. But a truer statement is that your DRP is so much more. A disaster recovery plan includes automated processes that are taken as soon as a disaster occurs. Business continuity services and data continuity, including data backups, are important aspects of any DRP. If you are unsure how well protected your business is from data loss, corruption, and even natural disasters, continue reading – this could save your business from failure after what can easily be a catastrophic event.

What Are the Key Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan includes everything from communications during a disaster to asset inventory and management in the event of an emergency. Anything from a flood or fire to a terrorist bombing or cyber hacking can leave your company eating the dust if you lack a DRP. Here is a look at seven key areas to consider when developing your disaster recovery plan in any industry.

Communication Plan and Role Assignments

The individuals who are responsible for carrying out your DRP are critical in every aspect of planning and testing of the plan. Team members should be assigned specific tasks. To protect the security of your system, each team member should be provided with communication access privileges according to the level of need. All communication should be documented to ensure transparency and to reduce errors in carrying out the DRP. Keep in mind that not all roles need to be fulfilled by people at the current location, and may even be subcontractors, suppliers, or peer organizations.

Equipment Protection

Find ways to minimize risks with equipment by providing protection with offsite servers and IT services. One viable solution that is becoming the go-to method for data storage is off-site cloud-based storage.

By using the cloud for data storage and having an offsite server, you automatically reduce the chances that a disaster will cause your business to suffer intensive technology damage and data loss. Have procedures in place for how to handle various disasters that could potentially threaten your company’s physical location.

Data Continuity System

The internet is live 24/7, and so should your data access—even when faced with a disaster. By using a cloud-based data management system, you are able to provide data continuity even if your equipment is damaged. Data continuity allows your computers and users to maintain access to company data during and after a disaster. This includes access to data, as well as document access for files and invoicing for accounting purposes.

Backups

After a disaster is over and the recovery is complete, your biggest hope will be that those computer backups are functioning. Those performing your backups should double-check them periodically to verify that there is not a glitch in the system or server and that they are recoverable. As soon as the storm has passed, you should perform a new check of the backups to make certain everything is secure and available.

Asset Inventory

Company assets include far more than just revenue. They may also consist of an office building and any inventory you have in a warehouse. Your IT assets are also extensive and include the computer and server room if you have an onsite IT department. In these areas, you have hardware and software, including applications and computer wires that will need to be inspected and repaired following a disaster. Your data and data recovery via a backup are also a part of this asset inventory.

Documentation

Document everything. All your assets, backups, data continuity plan, and equipment protection procedures should be clearly laid out in your disaster recovery plan. Your business continuity plan for your overall operations is also a part of this plan. Provide updated documentation for everyone who requires the information. Keep a copy in an accessible location that does not rely on the internal infrastructure being available to access it.

Vendor Communication Plans

Have a procedure in place for how to communicate with your vendors for software and hardware following a disaster. This might involve hot spots, which are data centers for subscribers of software or hardware to use following a disaster. Vendors can also send out IT solutions across the board to minimize risks after such an event.

Putting Plans into Action

The first area of action for a disaster recovery plan is to identify the starting point. This involves assigning specific responsibilities to various individuals in the DRP development phase.

Step 1 – Notify Your Recovery Team

By having a DRP, everything that you need is set in place for notifying your recovery team. This includes contact information, such as emails and phone numbers, as well as a call chain to coordinate procedures.

Step 2 – Identify What Happened

The first goal once the team has been coordinated is to identify the source of the issue. This might be as simple as noting that the computer room has been destroyed or that the server may have been accessed by hackers

Step 3 – Assess Site and Impacted IT Infrastructure

Once you identify the source of the crisis or what IT systems are damaged or destroyed, you are ready to begin performing triage. As noted, if you are using an off-site server and the cloud, you minimize any site and IT infrastructure damage that you would have to deal with on your own.

Step 4 – Triage

This is where that disaster recovery plan is vital to the success of data recovery and business continuity after an event. Thanks to the DRP, you have the resources in place for a budget, and resources in manpower and facilities. In addition, you have vendors ready to assist with protecting data and equipment as needed. Based on the nature of the crisis, determine the DR Plan details that need to be activated and initiate them accordingly.

Step 5 – Follow the Plan

When you stick to the disaster recovery plan you have in place, your business is in the best position to recover after any disaster—manmade or natural. This will help you protect your company against some of the biggest threats in this global economy.

Data breaches, for example, are becoming one of the most critical issues of cybersecurity. To protect against the most common criminal activity resulting from data breaches and from ransomware is paramount for businesses of any size.

Let IDS Systems assist you with IT disaster planning for your company. We specialize in providing clients with cost-effective IT plans that work and we have been serving customers in the IT field for more than 25 years. Contact IDS Systems today for more information.