What is a Disaster Recovery Plan in IT?

A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a structured and documented approach that stipulates how a business or organisation can quickly resume normal operations after an unplanned incident. This a crucial part of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and is applied to the aspects of a business that rely on a properly functioning IT department. A DRP is created with the aim of helping a business recover system functionality and resolve data loss that the business can in the least, resume mission-critical functions in the aftermath of an incident.

Understandably, no two disaster recovery plans are the same. This is because disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of individual business processes and continuity needs that are specific to an organisation. Typically, a business will premise a recovery plan with a risk analysis, a business impact analysis and also establish its own recovery objectives. Although recovery plans are specific to individual organisations, every plan should at least, include the following to give it the ability to handle incidents quickly, reduce downtime and minimise reputational and financial damages.

Communication plan and role assignments

Communication is extremely important during any disaster. It is important that everyone is on the same page during this time. Therefore, documents should all have updated employee contact information and employees should understand their specific roles in the days after the incident. If you do not have some technical resource to handle everything, roles such as assessing damage, setting up workstations and redirecting phones should be assigned to specific team members for seamless coordination.

Plan for your equipment

IT equipment can be very expensive and damage to it could cripple a business. Therefore, it is important to have a plan on how to protect your IT equipment locally for looming threats. Alternatively, you can create off-site redundancy if your budget allows.

Data continuity system

During disaster recovery planning, it is important to think about the minimum allowable resources that would allow your business to resume mission-critical operations after a disaster. These resources include what your organisation needs financially and operationally, with regards to supplies and communication to support core activities. This applies to all types of businesses including large consumer businesses that need to communicate with their customers and fulfil orders to small business to business organisations with just a handful of employees. Identifying and documenting your minimum requirements allows you to make effective plans for business continuity, backup and also have a full understanding of the logistics and contingencies surrounding these plans.

Backup check

Your data backup plan could determine the impact of any incident on your business and how fast you can resume operations. Therefore, make sure that your backup is running properly. Also, include a plan to run an additional full local backup on all data and servers in your recovery plan. Every business should maintain backups going back as far as possible. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the backup is located in a reasonably distant area that cannot be affected by a local disaster. You could also have a back up in an external hard drive that you can easily take with you off-site in case anything happens.

Detailed Asset Inventory

You should have a detailed asset inventory in your recovery plan. The inventory should be thorough and can include workstations, their servers, components, scanners, printers, tablets, phones and other technologies that you and your employees use in your normal day to day operations. This will provide you with a quick reference for insurance claims after an incident by providing your adjuster with a complete list together with pictures of any assets that have been damaged or are missing. The pictures will also help you show that the items were actively being used by your employees and that you took reasonable care to protect your assets from harm.

Vendor communication and service restoration plan

A power or internet outage can grind an entire business to a halt. The main goal of a disaster recovery plan is to help you resume normal operations as quickly as possible after an incident. Therefore, as part of your recovery plan, make sure you have a plan on how to communicate with your vendors. In case of power outages or surges, check in with your local power provider to assess how fast the power can be restored. Apply the same approach with your internet and phone providers on access and restoration.

Although no recovery plan is ever fully complete, the above considerations are a great foundation for a highly effective disaster recovery plan. However, its success relies on your ability to pay close attention to all detail and to tailor the plan to your specific circumstances and objectives. Additionally, it is important to create redundancies on top of your backups and to update the plan regularly as circumstances such as change of personnel or purchase of new technology occurs. If you need to make sure that you have covered all the necessary areas in your recovery plan, a managed service provider can help you do that and also provide additional services.

At AdEPT, you can trust our best-in-class Disaster Recovery services to protect your data. Our technical team will run and test recovery cycles every quarter to ensure that your data is fully restorable at any time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your business.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager