An IT disaster recovery plan is like creating an insurance plan for your data. It is a critical business need and requires top priority. A recent BBC News article exposed that "Two-thirds of big UK businesses have been hit by a cyber attack in the past year". Most cyber attacks involve spyware, malware or viruses and some can cost the affected companies millions of pounds as they work to recover.
External attacks and data breaches are not the only cause for loss of data. Internal malfunctions can occur as well. Hardware can fail. Mistakes can happen when data is not properly backed up or other human errors occur. Natural disasters can cause business interruption or loss of data. To counter any of these potential losses, create a disaster recovery plan in a few steps.
1) Assemble a team.
Put together a team of individuals who know your systems and can conjure up the worst-case scenarios. Each person on the team needs to understand their piece of the plan and what impact they have on prevention and recovery.
2) Gather documentation.
Gather documentation. Bring together all of the documentation related to your systems, how they operate, what they do, what information is stored and when everything happens.
3) Identify the weaknesses.
Identify the weaknesses. Find the vulnerabilities. Perform a full IT Risk Assessment. Fix the weaknesses that are possible to fix, plan extra security for those areas that cannot be fixed.
4) Plan to minimize business interruption.
Plan to minimize business interruption. The goals for disaster recovery are two-fold. First to minimize long-term damage and second to minimize short-term disruptions to keep the business functioning as seamlessly as possible.
5) Create the work plan.
Create the work plan. Detail each step that each individual takes as the owner of their part of the plan, but ensure the plan is fluid and takes into account positions, not individual people. Take care not to overlap steps or create duplication.
Your goal for creating a full disaster recovery plan is to ensure business continuity. With some advance planning, you can avert disaster and provide your business the best chance to return to full function quickly.
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