What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A Disaster Recovery Plan (DR Plan) is a process and a set of procedures put in place to protect and ultimately recover your entire IT environment in the event of a disaster.
The plan not only outlines how to protect and recover data, but how to get your business online and working again in the shortest amount of time.
Do I need a Disaster Recovery Plan?
“I’m not expecting a disaster any time soon!”
Well, nobody was expecting the Spanish Inquisition either!
All businesses, large and small, create and manage vast amounts of data. This data is essential to the operation of the business and if lost, can shut down the business for long amounts of time. Data can be lost in many different ways; natural or man-made disasters, virus or hacking, hardware failure or simply human error.
A worrying report from the NSW Audit Office has revealed that some NSW Government Agencies have absolutely no strategy to deal with a sudden loss of infrastructure. These agencies are running 'financially significant' systems and if disaster hits and their servers are compromised, all the data will be lost.
It also found that two agencies failed to separate their production and DR data centres. Separating your data centres is an important part of ensuring continuation of service.
A Disaster Recovery plan is much more than just having dusty backups of your data stacked up in the storeroom. It is a complete plan that outlines what the financial impact of a disaster will be on your business and provides a process to bring your systems back online in the most efficient way, having the least impact on your bottom line. Data recovery is sometimes confused with a Disaster Recovery Plan, but while data recovery may be able to save some files, they can’t put all your processes back in working order.
The problem with just having backups (hidden in the corner or off-site) is that your data is now safe, but you have no system to run it on. In the meantime you’re still losing money, time and potentially clients.
A Disaster Recovery plan will:
- Give you an understanding of what really happens if the lights go out
- Provide a sense of security for everyone in the business and your clients
- Shorten delays in getting the business back on its feet
- Guarantee the reliability of backup systems
- Reduce legal liabilities if a client's data is lost or stolen
How do I create a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Prioritise what’s critical to your business and what the impact will be on the business should these systems fail. This will include compiling a complete list of hardware, software and data.
- Not taking backups off-site
- Not having access to 24x7x365 IT support
- Backups not even running (you’d be surprised by the amount of firms that don’t even test if their back-ups are working)
- Where do you go if your office floats gently down the river?
Creating a DR Plan can be a time consuming and confusing process, download our Disaster Recovery Template to get started!