All businesses are vulnerable to business disruptions such as extreme weather conditions, economic downturns or, as recently experienced, a worldwide pandemic! Having an effective business continuity and data recovery plan in place is therefore by no means a luxury, but an essential part of every business strategy.
Companies of all sizes increasingly rely on IT systems to deliver products and services. These services manage large volumes of data, which puts them at higher risk of cyber attacks. Some of this data is business critical.
The more companies rely on data, the bigger the risk and impact of disasters that could cause potential data losses and security breaches.
Data loss through theft, human error, a crashed hard drive, systems failure or equipment failures are not always avoidable, but how quickly an enterprise is able to pick themselves up and resume normal operations after a disaster depends on their preparedness to deal with such incidents.
Business continuity is the most important thing when disaster strikes – the ability to resume or continue running the business as smoothly as possible. It’s all about how a business can ride out the storm and how quickly operations can return to normal.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Time is of the essence in the aftermath of a disaster. But if the company has a clearly documented disaster recovery plan, no time is wasted in getting the business back on track.
A data recovery plan is a documented, structured approach that describes how a company can quickly start working again after a disaster or unforeseen incident. It forms part of the business’ continuity plan – and applies to every part of the business that needs a functioning IT infrastructure to operate. Business continuity is the macro perspective, while DRP is the micro perspective.
Technopedia defines a disaster recovery plan (DRP) as a “business plan that describes how work can be resumed quickly and effectively after a disaster”.
Who needs a disaster recovery plan?
Disasters don’t discriminate. Every business is susceptible to a data disaster and the only way to ensure the risk is mitigated without a huge disruption is to have a fast, powerful data backup and recovery plan for data centers. However, the goals of such a plan may differ depending on the industry, size and organizational structure of the company. The goals should be based on the businesses’ own risk assessment and business impact analysis.
Some common goals for a disaster recovery plan include:
- Protecting mission critical data and records
- Reducing downtime
- Mitigating risk of disasters caused by human error
- Taking steps to ensure the business can continue operating during and after disasters
- Recover lost or damaged data
What type of disasters should businesses plan for?
- Natural disasters at local, regional, national and international level.
- Application or hardware failure
- Communication failure
- Human error
Also, read this article featuring 5 reasons why every company should use data backup solutions.
Elements of a disaster recovery plan:
There are two essential components of any disaster recovery:
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – this indicates how long a business can sustain itself when these critical applications are not available, eg. when the business is not able to sell or serve customers. It’s usually measured in hours, minutes or seconds.
There will usually be a different RTO for each application, and this often changes depending on the level of the disaster. For example, an incident affecting the entire building has different consequences for an application such as an accounting application than when only the company’s internal server is down.
Obviously, more critical business functions will have a much shorter RTO – i.e. a much shorter time span during which the operations could be offline or down before having serious implications for the enterprise. For other business applications which are less time-sensitive, the company has a bit more time before it has an effect on business operations. It is therefore important for a company to prioritize the applications in accordance with business criticality at the outset. It would not make sense to attempt a data recovery strategy without having gone through this process first.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – this describes what point the business has to go back to in backup to get data and restore all the applications essential for recovery and business continuity. In other words, it looks at how much data the company will lose.
Note that in a bigger enterprise, there should be different RPOs for different units of the business. So, for example, some parts of the business will be less critical and can withstand a longer RPO than other areas – where even a few minutes of downtime could have serious implications for the business.
Other considerations when compiling a data recovery plan in line with the company’s data recovery goals, include:
- Budget – while a disaster recovery plan may seem like a significant investment, it is important to take into account the potential financial implications of not having a disaster recovery and business continuity plan
- Insurance coverage – which resources and assets are included in the company policies
- Inventory – all the IT systems and networks that could be affected by the disaster
- Resources – people and physical facilities
- People with responsibility – who will execute the plan?
- Service providers or suppliers – and how this relationship could be affected in the event of a disaster
- Communication channels during emergencies
- Compliance regulations
How does a disaster recovery plan work?
A strong plan usually involves a combination of backup and replication to ensure the Recovery Time Objective.
Data backup and restore solutions specific to every enterprise’s individual needs should be carefully planned to safeguard business critical data. This could include online backup services, cloud-based backup and secure data storage, including cloud storage of critical business data. It is also important to test the plan in advance to ensure it is fit for purpose.
Backup usually entails having copies of the company’s important data stored offsite on a second computer or disk, as well as cloud storage.
An effective data recover plan will also include preventative measures to help protect the company against potential incidents, such as monitoring of recovery appliance components for signs of wear and tear, as well as using analytics to identify potential problems.
Benefits of a data recovery plan
- Business continuity protection
- Rapid file recovery
- Compliance with industry regulations which require that off-site copies of a company’s data are stored for safety. Any data recovery plan has to meet IT governance requirements and also go beyond to include industry best practices
- Recovery of lost or damaged files and file systems with low error rates
- Automatic monitoring and live notifications when errors occur
- Avoidance of critical IT negligence
To achieve a sufficient level of backup and restore strategy, businesses need reliable data storage and cloud backup services. Recovery as a service offered by IT specialists, or a managed IT solution, are becoming increasingly popular as company owners realize the importance of having a professional disaster recovery plan for peace of mind. At Crimson IT, our data specialists have a deeply intimate knowledge of compliance, certifications, future technologies and IT solutions to help reach any data storage objectives.
Outsourcing backup and restore strategy to a managed business data backup company with good credentials is a sound investment that ensures the company’s hard work and business values are safe.
Downtime can occur at any time. Even just a few moments of downtime on your website can mean lost revenue, unhappy customers, and other potential missed opportunities that could help you stay ahead in your field. Maximize your uptime, reduce your downtime, and lessen your stress by letting the IT experts at Crimson IT handle your disaster recovery strategy.
Experienced backup and restore services from Crimson IT are able to expedite your process of recovery, keeping your business moving in the right direction even in the face of IT disaster. With a comprehensive plan in place, your business will have the skilled professionals, knowledge, and ongoing solutions to better secure and recover your data. Our experts will put together a well-coordinated and thorough plan of action that will enable your enterprise or SMB to truly thrive in a constantly-evolving IT environment.
Contact us today to get started.