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How to Create an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

A binder with the words Disaster Recovery Plan written in bright yellow lettering

A disaster recovery plan is one of the most important components of modern business.

Regardless of the emphasis your company puts on cybersecurity and redundancy, there’s always a chance that a business-critical system can be impacted by an unexpected outage.

A simple user error or a successful phishing attempt that plants ransomware can devastate an organization without the necessary preparations.

Businesses that rely on their IT systems must prepare to recover them rapidly so they can continue operations.

With downtime costing as much as $8,000 per hour, it’s easy to see why a disaster recovery plan is critical to getting running again as quickly as possible.

So, what should a plan look like? What preparations should you make?

Let’s take a look at a few of the elements involved in such a plan, and how to ensure your business is ready for recovery.

Steps to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan

Companies should have a separate disaster recovery plan for each of their critical infrastructure components. These can be combined and used as part of an overall business continuity plan to further protect your organization.

With that in mind, you can develop a viable disaster recovery plan using the following steps.

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Identify Business-Critical Infrastructure Components and SMEs

The first step you’ll want to take is to identify the systems that affect your business the most. These are the ones you’ll want to recover the fastest if you experience an unplanned outage.

It could be a critical alarm or warning system, a payment software, or a cache of sensitive company data.

Whatever you decide, once you identify these systems, you’ll want to engage subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop appropriate recovery procedures.

Develop Recovery Procedures

When disasters strike, you won’t have much time to figure out “What do we do now?”

You’ll want detailed recovery procedures available that can be performed by any competent technical resource available at the time.

The inclusion of SMEs familiar with the system in question is essential in creating these procedures. They understand system dependencies and can lay out a step-by-step recovery guide to be followed by a recovery team.

Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad a properly-written plan is ready to go.

Define RPO and RTO

Recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) are two key parameters that directly affect system recovery, as well as the ability of your business to continue operations.

But, what does that really mean?

Well, RTO is simply the amount of time in which a system needs to be recovered. For example, an RTO of six hours indicates the recovery plans should have the system up and running in six hours or less.

RPO represents the amount of data your business can stand to lose.

For instance, an RPO of 12 hours means systems will be recovered to a point 12 hours before the outage. This means that 12 hours of work may need redone after the system is recovered, in order to return it to the state it was in when the disruption occurred.

Verify Backup Frequency and Reliability

The ability to meet the designated RPO and RTO is dependent on the reliability and frequency of your system backups.

So, if you can only afford to lose 12 hours of data, then you’ll need to back up your data every 12 hours, at a minimum.

Of course, if a particular system sees little use, maybe you can afford to lose a week’s worth of data, and only need weekly backups performed.

Whatever frequency you choose, try picturing yourself dealing with it in the aftermath of an incident. With the potential headaches you’ll face, are weekly backups really enough?

Maybe, or maybe not. Ultimately, it’s a question only you can answer.

Third-Party Disaster Recovery

Hopefully, you never find yourself needing to implement your disaster recovery plan. But, with so many threats facing businesses today, it’s a plan you’ll be glad you have.

Through frequent, reliable backups and an understanding of which systems to focus on first, you stand the best chance of restoring operations as quickly as possible.

But, a disaster recovery plan is useless without a viable disaster recovery site in which to restore affected systems.

Additionally, even the best-laid plans become difficult to implement in certain situations.

That’s exactly where working with a trusted partner comes into play.

Ideal Integrations, along with the support of our cybersecurity division, Blue Bastion, can help.

We offer customers a cloud-based platform that provides a cost-efficient recovery method that does not rely on the availability of your physical data center. This fact can be instrumental in allowing recovery from widespread weather events or power outages.

Ideal can also help your company develop recovery plans that ensure compliance with regulatory standards and protect your business from any type of disaster.

Simply contact us today at 412-349-6680, or fill out the form below, and our security and IT experts will gladly outline your options and best solutions.

We’ll gladly guide you through options, help you estimate costs, and determine if your organization can realize any advantage through a cloud transition.

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