Disasters are inevitable. Even with the best risk management strategies, disasters strike and disrupt the functionality of businesses. Natural disasters like storms, tornadoes, and earthquakes, or manmade disasters like cyber attacks, data breaches, or outbreak of fire are detrimental to the smooth functioning of your business.
A disaster results in the loss of precious data and disruption of day-to-day activities.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
To reduce the fallout of a disaster, businesses prepare Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP). A DRP is a detailed plan chalked out to help a business resume operations as soon as possible after a disaster strikes. DRP is usually made for IT infrastructure and applications. It has the following objectives:
- Save precious data from being destroyed in the event of a disaster.
- Recover data and continue the functioning of the business with the same efficiency as before.
Let us see what are the key components of a solid disaster recovery plan.
Detailed and Up to Date Inventory
- Prepare a record of all IT related infrastructure; hardware and software both. Categorize them as most important, important, and replaceable. This will allow you to determine which equipment is crucial for the functioning of the business and would need to restored immediately. High priority equipment and applications should have backups as well.
List down important information such as serial numbers, technical specifications, and support information of each equipment. All passwords should be recorded in the inventory as well. These passwords are crucial for accessing cloud-based programs and other software.
Assign Roles and Responsibilities
- An important component of the Disaster Recovery Plan is to clearly communicate and assign responsibilities to the team. Each person should be assigned a task if a disaster strikes and work should be divided. The team should be familiarized with the DRP and documented recovery process.
For e.g. person A will be responsible for generating an alert. Person B will be responsible for securing equipment. Person C can be responsible for arranging alternate sources of powers in the event of a power cut down.
- It is recommended to also have a backup for all primary assignments.
Develop a Communication Plan
- A communication plan is needed to chalk out ways to deliver the message when disaster strikes. In the event of a disaster – physical or cyber – regular modes of communication are compromised. The communication gap can exacerbate the whole situation.
So list down how the organization will communicate with internal and external stakeholders. If cellular and wireless communication is disrupted, other modes of communication should be figured out.
- Effective communication is needed in case of a cyber attack. Negligence of a few minutes can cause a huge breach of data. All of this can be ensured by establishing a proper communication plan.
Identify Backup and Storage Procedures
- Backing up data is the most crucial step in the Disaster Recovery Plan. First, identify which crucial data needs to be backed up. Then determine the frequency of backup. The location of data backup should be mentioned in the DRP as well.
Frequent Testing and Updates
- It is important to review and update your plan periodically. This is done to make sure that all changes are incorporated into the plan. For e.g. an employee may have left the company and needs to be replaced with another person in the DRP. Likewise, a change in passwords needs to be updated. Rapid advancements in technology like updated firewalls need to be documented as well.
Likewise, it is important to put the DRP to test by having regular practice drills. This will not only pinpoint the deficiencies but also keep the employees vigilant in the face of a disaster.
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