Know your IT: Disaster Recovery Plans

Every IT solutions provider will understand and emphasise the importance of having a robust, fit-for-purpose Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). Most companies these days rely on their IT to run the business, and need a disaster recovery plan that adequately addresses the business-critical needs. 

But what is a Disaster Recovery Plan, and what can it do to help your company in the wake of IT nightmares? 

What is it?

A Disaster Recovery Plan is a process document that determines the steps your business should take in order to mitigate the effects of an IT catastrophe, such as a loss of service due to a natural disaster. The formulation of this plan should never be a once-off occurrence. Rather, your chosen IT solutions provider will need to update the plan regularly as your organisation and its IT evolves. Some providers review this plan quarterly to ensure that it’s optimised to help you recover from disaster.

What does it contain?

A DRP is a document that contains the following:

  • The applications that are most important to running a business
  • How the business can and should respond in light of various IT incidents
  • The budget for recovery, business resources, how management should deal with risks, data breaches and technology implications
  • Which suppliers will be involved in a recovery procedure
  • A plan that is aligned with a business’ goals.

What can it help you recover from?

  • Host or rack failure
  • Communication, application or VM failure
  • Building, data centre or city disaster
  • Regional, national or multinational disaster
  • Floods
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Cyber attacks

How do you formulate a DRP?

Drawing up this document is not as easy as you may think. Prior to the creation of a DRP, we normally advise business continuity planning, which works hand-in-hand with disaster recovery. This will enable you to determine key drivers of your business, your IT assets and the protective measures you need in place. It will also determine where to focus certain resources within the disaster recovery process, and allow you to foresee which incidents will pose the greatest risk for your business. In addition, you’ll be able to outline the worst-case scenario of each of these risks in order to be completely prepared.

The steps of a DRP

  1. Outline the scope of the activity and the organisational goals.
  2. Collect and organise network infrastructure documents like passwords, authentication and legal and financial data.
  3. Flag the most serious threats, vulnerabilities and the most critical assets.
  4. Review the history of past incidents and outages and look at how they were dealt with.
  5. Identify the current data recovery strategies in place.
  6. Name the specific members of the emergency response team.
  7. Get approval from management for the plan.
  8. Test the plan and update it where necessary.
  9. Carry out an audit of the DRP to test effectiveness.
  10. Make employees aware of the plan and how they can execute basic emergency protocols.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike

If you don’t have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place, your business is a sitting duck. Our business continuity plans and disaster recovery strategies give your business a high level of protection against any eventuality. To find out how we can help you, click here: