A disaster recovery plan, or DRP, is a formal set of instructions directing IT efforts in case of a network disruption that lasts a day or more. As a key component of a corporate continuity plan, a DRP focuses on IT’s ability to respond quickly and maintain business operations during a major event.
Often, “network disturbances” refers to security and data breaches. But any network disrupter should be taken into account in an incident response plan. You may face a natural disaster, infrastructure failure, or other challenge.
A disaster recovery team is the group of IT professionals assigned to implement the DRP.
If your network hasn’t been threatened yet, it will be. If it has, then you know the chaos following an attack. While businesses implement plans to prepare for cyberbreaches, many other types of physical disasters can damage your network. Power outages, terrorism, sabotage, or natural disasters like floods, fires, and earthquakes can cause physical destruction to your network. A DRP should help you take the steps to prepare for all of these major events.
Your network will never be 100 percent secure, and logic tells us you will be threatened by a disaster scenario eventually. A thorough DRP can help mitigate risk and damage caused by the disaster. Here are five recommended steps for crafting a thorough DRP.
In a disaster scenario, the number one priority is safety. Identify the risk of potential disasters in your area and different emergencies scenarios that will arise, then make sure employees know the course of action for each situation. A clear and detailed plan can prevent confusion and increase safety when a disaster strikes.
For each department, the DRP should place management in charge of communicating and coordinating with members of their team. If team members are in different geographical locations, there needs to be a collaboration plan and tools in place for long distance communication. These tools can be more sophisticated like video conferencing or screen-sharing technology, or they can be as simple as providing every employee with a list of each other’s cell phone numbers. By providing proper tools, businesses can work remotely and safely.
Disaster scenarios can cripple businesses if crucial data is corrupt and contacts are lost. Removing single points of failure in your network can prevent data loss. Backing up data to multiple data centers across distant geographical locations can drastically reduce the risk of data loss. Businesses should routinely back up their data physically (for example, on external hard drives) and virtually (for example, with cloud storage). If your data is backed up, you can use specific applications to access your data from any location following a disaster.
All of your devices and infrastructure are useless if you cannot turn them on. Be sure to have a backup power supply. If a main power source fails, your business may be disrupted until the power source is fixed. Rather than waiting or fully relying on someone else, your business can have a backup power plan. Backup generators can keep your campus network online and secure until the main power source is restored.
A crucial component to IT disaster preparedness is equipping your employees to work remotely from anywhere. In some disasters, the physical office location may be inaccessible for a significant amount of time. Equipping your employees with the proper collaboration tools can allow them to work remotely and safely until the office is accessible.
It is crucial that everyone in your IT organization understands the disaster response plan. After you’ve created it, also train and educate all staff on disaster response. Practicing facility evacuations and emergency responsibilities for certain types of disasters helps your team to stay in sync when disaster strikes. This preparation will help increase safety and productivity during an incident.