In today’s digitally connected world, there are few things more important than making sure you’re prepared for almost anything.
By formulating a strong disaster recovery plan, you should ensure that your organization has the steps you need in place to get your IT system back up and running quickly when a catastrophe strikes. Of course, before you can generate a good recovery plan, you’ll need to perform an in-depth risk assessment to determine which IT services are most important to the activities of your business. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to establish recovery objectives that should get your team back in action fast.
Here, we’ll look at some of the things you’ll need to consider when you’re developing your own IT disaster recovery plan.
Creating an IT Disaster Recovery Plan: How to Begin
An IT disaster recovery plan defines what your team needs to do when you’re responding to an incident that could potentially put business performance on hold. To start developing a recovery plan, you’ll need to begin by thinking about which systems are most crucial to your company. Ask yourself if you can continue to perform at your best when your collaboration systems are down, or whether the biggest priority for your company is to keep phone systems up and running.
A few of the additional elements you’ll need to consider in your IT disaster recovery plan include:
- People: Who will be responsible for initiating your recovery plan when something goes wrong? Do you have a managed IT services team in place to get you back into action when something goes wrong, or will you need to waste time looking for experts?
- Data management: When your systems go down, will your data be safe and secure on a cloud computing network? Do you have a solution in place that ensures that you won’t need to start again from scratch collecting important information if something on your existing backup server goes wrong? Data protection is the key to an effective disaster recovery plan.
- Policies and procedures: Do you have procedures in place that your full team should follow if something goes wrong with your IT system? For instance, can you send out an alert when there’s been an infiltration in the security of your network that informs employees to stop sending emails and connecting with coworkers immediately? Think about how you can stop the damage from getting worse when something unpredictable takes place, then you can begin to plan for a full recovery.
Remember, you’ll need to get management-level sign-offs for any strategies that you come up with. Sometimes, this will mean being able to demonstrate that your strategies can align properly with your business continuity plans and the goals of the overall organization.
What Does an IT Disaster Recovery Plan Look Like?
The most effective IT disaster recovery plans often begin with a few pages of information that summarize important details about key action steps. For instance, if you’re concerned that a disaster might require your workers to shut down their computers or digital systems, then you might have a page of information in your plan that provides guidelines on how to minimize loss, change passwords, and save any sensitive data.
While no two IT disaster recovery plans will be the same, the chances are that most will include some of the following points. For instance:
- An Introduction: Your disaster recovery plan might include information at the beginning of the document that outlines the scope and purpose of the plan. This section will identify who should be authorized to launch the plan when problems occur.
- Responsibilities and Roles: To keep everyone on the right track, make sure that you define the roles of the people involved in your disaster recovery process, as well as their contact details if necessary. For instance, you might include numbers for your IT support team.
Incident Response Information: This section of the plan can outline what an employee should do if they notice something that might require the activation of the recovery plan. For instance, it might offer insights into how an incident can be evaluated, and how much damage needs to be done before going into full DR mode.
- Plan Activation Details: Sometimes, the best IT disaster recovery plan is one that provides guidelines for which plans should be launched depending on the circumstances at hand. For instance, if you have a cybersecurity threat in your organization, then you might need to stop communication between coworkers. However, the same may not be true if you simply have an issue with your information storage software.
- Document Management: A plan of action for how to store and maintain documents is crucial for running any business today. It’s important to make sure that your employees know how they can protect some of your company’s most important assets in the case of an unexpected event.
Implementing your Disaster Recovery Plan
With so many different concerns to think about, some companies find that the easiest way to begin implementing their IT disaster recovery plan is to create a brainstorm of important things that will need to be covered if something goes wrong with your digital services. When you’ve got everything written down on paper, it can be easier to organize possible issues into a hierarchy of what needs to be addressed first.
From that point, you can create a table that lines the business-critical system with the potential threat, and the response strategy that you’ve put in place to help your company recover as quickly as possible. This table can be sent out to your entire personnel, to ensure that everyone knows how to respond in the event of an emergency.
Running a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan
Often, designing and implementing a powerful IT disaster recovery plan can seem like a great deal of hard work, but it’s an important step in protecting your business. Once you’ve established what some of the biggest digital risks might be for your business, it’s important to ensure that everyone in your organization knows how to respond to everything from digital losses, to cyber-attacks.
Depending on the size and scope of your company, you may find that you need to put additional strategies in place to create employee awareness and train them for good digital security in your organization.
Keep in mind that even the best plan for disaster recovery won’t do your business much good if it ends up getting burned in an office fire, or your entire team doesn’t know how to find it. The best thing you can do to keep your company safe is to make sure that everyone in your DR team knows the details of your plan, and that you keep a copy of the document stored offsite. Once you’ve ensured that your employees are secure, your IT disaster recovery plan may be one of the first things you reach for in the case of a catastrophe.