IT Disaster Recovery Planning: What You Should Know

IT Disaster Recovery Planning

Imagine this: You’re making a presentation at a seminar. The Powerpoint file you’re using is stored on one of your enterprise’s servers. Suddenly the corporate network goes down, and with it, your presentation. Such moments are not only embarrassing but also erode productivity – according to research by UC Irvine; it takes an employee an average of 23 minutes to regain their focus on work after an interruption. On a larger scale, such outages are hugely expensive. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime in the enterprise is $5,600 per minute. 

This is why you need to have a tailored and effective IT disaster recovery plan to substantially cut down on wasted time and keep financial losses to a minimum while helping your employees return to normal workplace operations as soon as possible.

But what should you include in your IT disaster recovery plan (DRP)? What should be your primary objectives, and how should you formulate a DRP that serves its purpose of helping your organization recover quickly and effectively? These questions may very well be overwhelming—which is why we at Akitra have written this blog post to answer these questions. This blog will arm you with the basic knowledge needed to create and implement a DRP efficiently.

Let’s get started!

What is Disaster Recovery?

In the event of an unforeseen major disruption, a corporation can recover the use of its IT infrastructure using a series of predetermined plans and procedures – this is disaster recovery. The origin of the outage may be operator error such as a network device misconfiguration, malicious actions by cyber-attackers, mechanical failures such as burst water pipes or malfunctioning air conditioners, or natural calamities like fires or hurricanes.

Disaster recovery, part of business continuity, is concerned with ensuring that vital technological services are available or are swiftly restored. Strategies concentrate on restoring hardware, apps, and data quickly to lessen a bad incident’s total effects. Disaster recovery solutions can be used, for instance, to repair essential systems, offer real-time replication of crucial data, and swap out inoperable equipment. These strategies, whether implemented internally or through disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions, are essential to ensuring that a business can continue to run in the case of an emergency or breakdown.

Who Creates a Disaster Recovery Plan?

Creating a DRP must be a collaborative effort by key decision-makers in an organization. This should include the following:

  • Top-level or C-level executives
  • IT team leads 
  • HR
  • Finance
  • Operations and Security heads
  • Vendor managers

Overall, these people will collectively be in charge of creating, carrying out, testing, and maintaining the disaster recovery plan.

Objectives of a Disaster Recovery Plan

It’s critical to initially consider the goals you want the plan to achieve while creating the best IT disaster recovery strategy for your company. The DR plan’s primary objective is to shield customers and the company from a catastrophe’s negative legal, financial, privacy, and security effects.

Let’s see what some of these goals could be.

1. Reducing Risk:
Limit the disaster’s impact’s size and reach. Perform detailed risk analysis and examine potential targets. Create the DRP to isolate mission-critical components and streamline the pipeline for risk mitigation and remediation.

2. Minimizing Interruptions:
The success of a firm heavily depends on the availability of online services. Making sure that systems quickly resume normal and optimal performance following downtime is one of the primary goals of a good DRP. Planning for disaster recovery should maximize metrics like Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR).

3. Cutting Down on the Financial Losses:
MTTR of IT assets should be prioritized based on the deemed business value. An ideal catastrophe recovery plan prioritizes:

  • Systems that have the highest impact on downtime costs
  • Production services that are critical to the organization’s core mission, such as banking, healthcare, or e-commerce applications
  • Services that affect revenue generation

4. Knowing the State of Cybersecurity at Your Company:
Cybersecurity is challenging, and it takes a lot of time and resources. You should:

  • Identify and protect the most crucial IT resources.
  • Stay up to date on vital security patches.
  • Find fresh vulnerabilities – as soon as a zero-day vulnerability is discovered, patch it.
  • Regularly test the robustness of your cybersecurity with penetration testing.
  • Regularly update your employees and consultants with security awareness training – people are the weak link in any cybersecurity system.

Understanding your cybersecurity posture enables you to devote resources to disaster preparedness and incident response most efficiently.

5. Securing Regulatory Compliance:
The ability of organizations to adapt to the shifting regulatory landscape should be strong. The compliance program should include a disaster recovery plan since it reduces risk and offers a systematic way to recover from catastrophic events. Compliance is mandated for firms in some industries, such as healthcare, finance, defense, and public infrastructure. Beyond regulatory requirements, customer insistence is often the most significant driver for compliance with frameworks such as SOC 2, HIPAA, and ISO 27001.

6. Preserving Consumer Trust, Brand Loyalty, and Reputation:
Internet users are becoming more conscious of their data security, privacy, and control rights. Even during a disaster, your users expect protection of their data – and rapid restoration of access to it – thanks to a robust DR program.

As a result, service providers uphold the brand loyalty and trust necessary to thrive in the brutally competitive Internet market environment.

Steps to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

Given below is a disaster recovery planning template that you can follow to help your workforce understand and adhere to guidelines to protect against disasters:

1. Establish goals
Determine your company’s objectives and prioritize them.

2. Establish accountability
Who is responsible for what? Create an organizational structure and specify the duties of each person involved in a DR plan.

3. Set Application Asset Priorities
Identify the assets and essential applications. Concentrate your DR efforts according to the importance to the business, the impact on users, the regulatory requirements, the simplicity of recovery, and other relevant variables.

4. Specify Asset Details
Maintain a thorough database with information on each asset, including vendor information, model and serial information, cost, number, and other pertinent information.

5. Create a Backup Strategy
Describe the backup schedule and frequency. Based on data storage and transmission costs, speed, commercial value, and legal value, different library and directory objects may be processed for backup at varying schedules and volumes.

6. Specify a Recovery Plan
Create rules that may be put into practice and center on the following three points:

  • Emergency reactions to fire situations or natural catastrophes
  • Instructions for carrying out backup and restoration of data assets from backup storage sites
  • Identification of the organizations or individuals responsible for carrying out each major recovery task 

7. Plan for Mobile and Hot Sites
While the home site is being rebuilt, create alternate (hot) and transportable facilities to handle the DR operations. This is especially helpful when there are natural calamities involved.

8. Create a Restoration Structure and Guidelines
Evaluate how to restore the original site, systems, and operations to their ideal state as the data is retrieved from backup sites.

9. Test Repeatedly
Test and analyze your DR strategy in-depth. Practice DR exercises and training sessions to get your staff ready for potential emergencies.

10. Make Incremental Improvements
Keep revising, enhancing, and assessing your DR plan. Keep your records and procedures current with regard to the dangers and tools at your disposal as an organization.

Compliance and Cybersecurity for Startups with Akitra!

No company can afford to react to unpredictable disasters without a plan. Once a calamity strikes, it’s too late. The existence of a disaster recovery plan may mean the difference between your company surviving or becoming road kill.

Another way to effectively reduce the incidence of disasters affecting your IT infrastructure is by implementing a cybersecurity program tailored to your organization’s IT protection needs and keeping your operations and systems updated with regular compliance checks. This is why we think you will find Akitra perfectly suited to your purposes.

Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation and Cybersecurity platform for SaaS companies. Andromeda Compliance uses automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation to help customers become certified for regulatory frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPPA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and NIST 800-53. Our compliance and security experts will also provide the customized guidance you need to navigate the end-to-end compliance process confidently. 

Our solutions’ benefits include enormous time, human resources, and money savings. Customers can stay safe from cybersecurity threats and unforeseen IT infrastructure breakdowns, achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, and stay continuously compliant as they grow. 

Build customer trust. Choose Akitra TODAY!‍
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