This post was submitted by a TNS experts. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on digital marketing, SEO, social media, growth hacking and content marketing with our audience.
In this article, you will learn ways to build an effective data recovery plan that can help ensure business continuity.
Data is one of the most important assets of a business. It holds a lot of crucial information your organization has, from operation records to financial accounts. Thus, it should be protected and safeguarded at all costs from cyberattacks. However, despite how intensive the security of your system is, such disasters may still occur. As technology continues to evolve, so do the attackers.
On the topic of information technology, the term ‘disaster’ often refers to a cybersecurity breach. These cyberattacks may corrupt essential data and leave vital systems useless and nonfunctional. They often happen unexpectedly, and some companies’ systems have been breached even though they believed their cybersecurity system was well-fortified.
The best course of action is to prepare a foolproof data recovery plan (DRP) that will help your business recover from any loss that may occur.
What Is A Data/Disaster Recovery Plan?
A data or disaster recovery plan is an action plan that can help an organization recover from its significant data losses and prevent a catastrophic scenario from occurring to its IT assets. The plan is usually a set of tools and procedures necessary for the continuity of business operations during and after a major incident.
Disaster plans should be effective at countering attacks and diminishing threats. These plans are not only used for cyberattacks; they are also used during unexpected power outages, temporary loss of access, and other disruptive events. Thus, a disaster plan allows you to continue to serve and meet your customers’ demands.
Having a disaster plan may be crucial in an organization, but with backup data, you can quickly recover vital information without having to pay a ransom for the encryption key. If you’re at a loss for where to begin, you can opt to hire managed IT services to get the help you need from IT professionals.
What’s In A Data/Disaster Recovery Plan?
An effective data recovery plan is composed of the following:
- Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)
This is a measure of how long it will take for usual operations to continue. These objectives are necessary steps your IT team should take to return all the data to its pre-disaster state. They are also quite complicated, as they require your entire system infrastructure and not just your data. If you need a faster RTO, you’ll have to use more resources.
- Recovery Point Objectives (RPO)
It is the maximum amount of data lost during and after recovery from a disaster, outage, or system failure. It also dictates the rules and procedures for an effective recovery plan.
- IT Personnel
They are responsible for executing the whole disaster recovery plan. They must have clear assigned roles and responsibilities, and they should always be prepared to take action when such an emergency happens.
- IT Inventory
An IT inventory consists of all your business software and hardware assets and their conditions, whether leased or not.
- Backup Data And Procedures
This is how your resources are backed up for recovery if some data is permanently lost due to cyberattacks or natural disasters. Also, having backup resources is vital for a data recovery plan.
- Disaster Recovery Procedures
This is a set of emergency responses necessary when unexpected attacks happen. These are implemented to prevent further loss of data and damage to your IT infrastructure.
- Data Recovery Sites
An intensive data recovery plan has to have data recovery sites. These are alternative data centers used as a secondary mode of operation where all critical data and systems are periodically backed up. These are essential for the continuity of operations in case the primary data center is attacked.
- Plan Testing
Testing is crucial to have a successful contingency plan. Data system operations may change from time to time without you knowing, so it’s important to evaluate the program to make sure it will work in an actual emergency. Prepare a list of all data drives that have to be tested, and take note of their conditions to see if the plan is applicable to them and whether they need additional actions.
- Actual Recovery Process
It is the whole process, from recovering lost data to resuming entire system operations.
What Are The Key Steps In A Data Recovery Plan?
Building an effective DRP is not as easy as writing a simple document. You can’t copy someone else’s plan and use it as your own. It may result in drawbacks that may only hurt your company and worsen the situation. The entire process should be based on your organization’s needs and the dangers it could face, and it should be created only for your company.
Here are the key steps you can follow for an effective data recovery plan.
Step 1: Audit And List Down All Your Resources
Before anything else, map out all your assets under IT management that exist in your business infrastructure. These include hardware and software devices, cloud servers and services, network equipment, and system data.
Listing all your assets is crucial to quickly assess what devices are critical and need to be protected as soon as possible, and what operations are essential to the business. In addition, it will help you understand how assets are used and their function in the business. Start by categorizing them into low, medium, or high impact, and determine how they could interrupt your operations.
Step 2: Determine The Lingering Threats
After identifying critically damaged assets, you have to determine the threats that may have caused them, by conducting a risk assessment. Ask your IT personnel about it, list them all down, and identify what may have caused the system interruption. Once done, you can produce solutions for how to handle different threats.
Step 3: Set Roles And Responsibilities For Your IT Staff
Whether it’s basic documentation or proper program implementation, all employees have different vital roles that can help your plan succeed. Determine all the important staff involved in executing the whole project. Identify their roles and make sure that everyone knows what to do in response to emergencies that may occur.
Step 4: Determine Your Goals And Objectives
How will you be able to recover from a natural disaster? What are you going to lose if you fail to make an immediate response? How much would it cost you to lose that valuable data? These are the essential questions you have to address during a disaster. It’s important to have your recovery point and recovery time objectives stated for an effective DRP.
A properly evaluated RTO and RPO determines how quickly you will recover and how much data may be lost during and after the process. For example, an hour RPO would require backup every hour, and an hour RTO would be impossible if the minimum restoration time is only two hours.
Also, make sure to give high priority to data that is exceptionally vital to your organization. This data is critical for the resumption of operations and must be accessed first before others. It includes financial assets and regulatory compliance data.
Step 5: Set Up A Remote Data Recovery Hot Site
If you live in a disaster-prone area, one thing you would keep in mind is where to go during disasters. It’s the same thing for data centers; it’s necessary to have a backup site where you can continue your operations while the primary site is being attacked.
Also, remember that your physically stored data is prone to fire, flood, and physical tampering. It’s better to create a backup file for the data in case calamities happen. Today, many businesses opt for cloud-based solutions. It’s a better way of securing and accessing your data online than having physical backup drives, such as USBs or hard drives. However, physical storage is more resistant and less likely to be corrupted by cyber threats than cloud-based storage.
Step 6: Test And Evaluate The Entire Process
After creating the plan, you may have questions. Are you sure it will work according to your expectations? Are you sure it will solve the problems you discovered? Will it help you recover all encrypted data? If you want to find out, make sure to test your plan.
It is essential to have a periodic evaluation of the data recovery plan to ensure that it will work when needed. This will also help you pinpoint specific areas that need improvement or replacement.
During the test, consider the following factors that may affect its effectivity:
- Recovery Time
How long does it take before things get back to normal? How long does it take to reach minimum functionality? These are the time frames you should consider, and you should determine how to make them faster and more efficient.
- Recovery Point
How much data have you lost and recovered in the entire process? Is the lost data critical to the functions of your business? Analyzing the movement of data may help you avoid unwanted losses in an actual calamity.
- Points Of Improvement
These are the areas that need improvements to ensure that the whole process will run smoothly and without delays.
Taking Everything Into Account
Planning a data recovery plan may be complicated for some, but it can provide more effective security than traditional physical backups. Because traditional backups are still susceptible to the same problem, it’s essential to create a specific and robust recovery plan. With the information given in this article, you can build an effective data recovery plan that can help ensure business continuity.
Subscribe to weekly updates
You’ll also receive some of our best posts today