Despite the rampant increase in ransomware attacks and other forms of cyberattacks in the recent past, recent data suggest that nearly three-quarters of small businesses have no disaster recovery plan objective in place. While many companies focused on parts of disaster recovery, such as hardware failure or prevention of critical data loss, many failed to take into account other sources of major unplanned downtime. Recent data suggests that hardware failures indeed caused 45% of total unplanned downtime, but was followed by the loss of power (35%), software failure (34%), data corruption (24%), external security breaches (23%), and accidental user error (20%). Companies need to realize that the inability to connect to customers as a result of network failure could as easily devastate business operations as more obvious forms of disruptions, such as hardware/ software failure or data breaches. This is why it’s essential for businesses to have a comprehensive data recovery plan in place. For guidance on effective data recovery strategies, please refer to 24/7 IT support.
What is Disaster Recovery?
In its essence, the Disaster Recovery (DR) plan refers to the set of instructions and strategies that an organization employs in order to build in redundancies against data loss from breaches. Having a disaster recovery plan in place can be key to an organization’s survival and long-term business continuity, especially in the aftermath of a successful security breach. With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly commonplace, having a disaster recovery plan in place is just good business sense for any organization regardless of its size. Recent data suggest that 96% of companies with a trusted backup and disaster recovery plan were able to survive ransomware attacks. While 93% of companies without any Disaster Recovery strategy in place who suffered a major data disaster were out of business within one year.
A detailed and regularly tested disaster recovery plan can literally save the bacon when it comes to your business’s survival in the aftermath of an attack. It can help you restore normal business functioning with minimal downtime, restore customer and stakeholder confidence, ensure customers stay happy with your quality of service, and even prevent or mitigate damage from future attacks.
Components of an effective IT DR Plan
A well-thought-out IT DR plan is a sum of many moving parts and is cognizant of the fact that disasters can arise from any cause – from human actions to equipment failure, widespread power outage, cyber-attacks, hacks, natural disasters, and more. An effective Disaster Recovery Plan For Business will have distinct strategies in place for all eventualities. Common strategies include backing up all business data at regular intervals. The plan recognizes that as long as critical business data remains accessible, the business greatly improves its chances of survival with minimal impact on daily processes. Accessible backups can greatly reduce downtimes and ensure seamless business continuity.
The IT DR plan also spells out roles and responsibilities during a disaster with a list of first-level contacts and persons/departments within the company, who are responsible for managing disaster recovery operations. It outlines the exact procedures that employees need to follow during a disaster. The organization should also identify multiple IT DR sites (ideally situated at least 50 miles away from the current production site) that are capable of accommodating the current production environment. The best laid out IT DR plans strive to minimize downtimes as much as possible, ensure the integrity and performance of mission-critical data and applications, restore normal business functions as soon as possible and safeguard sensitive customer information.
Disaster Recovery Plans For Business include the following major components
- Backup Tape Retention Policy
- Offsite Backup Tape facility and guaranteed timely delivery of tapes at DR site
- Steps to restore server functioning
- Restoring mainframes (with backups)
- Software repository (including approved Production OS Images and Application Software with patches and updates)
- Ensuring connectivity with local area networks (LANs)
- Secure offsite location
Top 3 Ways to Develop a Better Disaster Recovery Plan
Backup your data regularly
This is the first step towards both prevention of and recovery from data loss. There is an exhaustive list of resources available online (and on this site) that you can refer to in order to choose from a variety of backup methods available to you and also understand best practices for comprehensive backups. Some of the options you can consider for Disaster Recovery Plan For Business include cloud services, external physical storage, or investing in storage solutions such as RAID.
Choose the Right Backup Category
The three main categories for backup include:
This is the most basic and time-consuming option. A copy of all of your data is made available and stored on other media – every time you perform a backup. On the plus side, since all the data is stored on a single set of media, restorations are generally very quick.
A fast option as it only stores the modified/ new files added or removed to or from a folder with a modified timestamp once the initial backup is done. Requires less storage space but does not store older versions of backup files.
Similar to incremental backup, but copies modified data along with the previous backup. Storage requirement is substantially more as it doesn’t replace the older data but is still less than a full backup. Ideally, you should be making use of a combination of all three depending on your requirements once a full backup is done. For the most effective backup strategies, consider consulting experts such as Managed IT Services.
Having an Effective Backup Strategy
Having the right backup strategy is essential for the success of your Disaster Recovery Plan. Paying attention to backup availability is important and it’s always preferable to have multiple backups. Most IT pros suggest the 3-2-1 IT Disaster Recovery Plan backup rule which involves:
- Creating multiple backup copies (minimum of three)
- Using two different storage media types
- Storing at least one backup copy offsite (with regular Disaster Recovery Plan Testing)