By Sarah Doherty, Product Marketing Manager at iland.
No organisation has time for downtime in today’s ever-changing business environment. Disruptions including human error, cyberattacks, natural disaster and even business disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic can wreak havoc on your business and bring it to a standstill. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery (DR) plan is critical for business resilience and the survival of your organisation.
What is a DR plan?
DR can be defined as a set of processes and techniques used to help an organisation recover from a disaster and continue or resume routine business operations. It is a comprehensive plan that combines the roles and functions of IT and the business immediately following a disaster. These plans allow your organisation to adapt and recover from any type of disruption while also maintaining normal business operations.
Why do you need a DR plan?
DR is an area of security planning that helps to protect an organisation from the effects of significant negative events. Having a disaster recovery strategy in place enables an organisation to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions following a disruption. The plan assists with the much-needed processes, policies and procedures related to recovery and continuation of technology infrastructure, systems and applications, which are all vital to any organisation following a disruption or outage.
Data is a lifeline to business success and a DR plan focuses on the restoration of important IT applications and data after any type of catastrophe. The minimisation of downtime along with the assurance that vital support systems are up and running as quickly as possible provides the ability to quickly recover and restore data.
Important goals of a successful DR plan
The fundamental goal of DR planning is not only to provide data recovery but also to minimise the effects of a disruption to business operations while also providing much-needed business resiliency. All of this must occur to allow an organisation to quickly recover following any type of disaster.
Listed below are goals that can help strengthen any DR plan:
- Evaluate the state of business: Routinely monitoring and assessing the organisation can help identify possible threats and set priorities for restoration efforts. The plans should account for changes to things such as personnel or systems. Be willing to consider new options including cloud-based disaster recovery which is cost-effective and easy to set up and manage.
- Search out any weaknesses and require resolutions: Any potential risks should be constantly evaluated to identify any gap that might disrupt business operations and expose DR strategies. Secure and making data available is key and cloud-based DR can assist with this type of requirement.
- Test the plan: Annual reviews can ensure that it remains up to date and covers quick recovery for all aspects of the business. One advantage to cloud disaster recovery solutions is that the cloud provider can help facilitate quicker and easier testing procedures on your schedule without disrupting production resources.
- Identify the location of stored data: Pinpointing where critical business data and assets are being stored is one of the essential objectives of DR planning. There are many cost-effective cloud data storage options available that can help with creating a budget-friendly DR plan.
- Assign DR team: Communicate roles and responsibilities to all key business stakeholders and keep documentation accessible and updated regularly. Working with a cloud provider is a great extension to any DR team.
Organisations without a strong DR plan cannot survive or recover from any type of business disaster. The effects of large-scale outages and disruptions can almost exclusively shut down operations. More than 90 per cent of companies without a DR plan that suffers a major disaster are out of business within 12 months. A DR plan is like an insurance policy for an organisation that can help to reduce overall risk, quickly and efficiently restore data after an outage or disruption while also mitigating the risk of data loss.
Developing and implementing a comprehensive DR plan can be a challenge due to complexity and lack of in-house expertise. Secure Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can help your organisation achieve resilience and be more prepared for unexpected disruptive events. DRaaS provides the needed resilience to an organisation by providing the ability for your IT workloads to be replicated from virtual or physical environments to an advanced security cloud infrastructure so that recovery of the business is possible within minutes of an outage. Experienced disaster recovery engineers should help guide you through the entire process from design to implementation.