A disaster recovery plan is a proven process to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Basically, it gives a clear idea of various actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster.
Disasters are natural or man-made. Examples include industrial accidents, oil spills, stampede, fires, nuclear explosions / nuclear radiation and war actions, etc. Other types of man-made disasters include the more cosmic scenarios of catastrophic global warming, nuclear war and bioterrorism, whereas natural disasters are earthquakes, floods, floods, floods, floods, floods volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes and landslides, cosmic and asteroid threats.
Disaster cannot be removed, but proactive preparation can reduce data loss and disrupt operations. Organizations require a disaster recovery plan that includes a formal plan to consider the impact of disruptions on all important business processes and their dependency. The phased plan consists of the precautions that minimize the impact of a disaster so that the organization can continue to serve or quickly resume mission-critical functions.
The disaster recovery plan must be prepared by the Disaster Development Committee, which includes representatives from all critical departments or areas of the department’s functions. The committee must have at least one representative for management, computing, risk management, records management, security and building maintenance. The committee’s responsibility is to draw up a timeline that sets a reasonable deadline for implementing the written plan. It is also responsible for identifying critical and non-critical departments. One procedure used to determine the critical needs of the departments is to document all the functions performed by each department. Once the primary functions have been recognized, the operations and processes are then sorted in order of priority: essential, important and non-essential.
Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before drawing up a detailed plan, an organization often performs a business impact assessment (BIA) and risk analysis (RA), and sets recovery time (RTO) and recovery point (RPO) goals. The RTO describes the measured time a business application can be down, typically measured in hours, minutes or seconds. RPO describes the previous time when an application must be restored.
The plan should define the roles and responsibilities of the disaster recovery team members and outline the criteria for starting the plan into action, but there is no real type of disaster recovery plan, nor is there a one-size-fits-all disaster benefit plan. Basically, there are three basic strategies that include all disaster recovery plans: (a) preventive measures, (b) detective measures, and (c) corrective actions.
(a) Preventive measures: will try to prevent a disaster from occurring. These measures seek to identify and reduce risks. They are designed to mitigate or prevent an event from happening. These measures may include storage and backup of data, use of surge protectors, installation of generators, and carrying out routine inspections.
(b) Detective measures: These measures include the installation of fire alarms, the use of up-to-date antivirus software, the organization of employee training sessions, and the installation of server and network monitoring software.
(c) Corrective measures: These measures focus on repair or recovery of the systems following a disaster. Corrective measures may include the retention of critical documents in the disaster recovery plan.
The plan should include a list of first-level contacts and individuals / departments within the company that can declare a disaster and activate DR operations. It should also include a summary and content that sets out the exact procedures to follow in a disaster. At least 2-4 potential DR sites with hardware / software that meet or exceed the current production environment should be made available. DR best practices indicate that DR sites must be at least 50 miles away from the existing production site so that the Restoration Time Objection (RTO) requirements are met
The recovery plan should provide initial and ongoing employee training. Skills are needed in the reconstruction and recovery phase of the recovery process. Your basic training can be completed through professional seminars, special in-house training programs, the wise use of consultants and suppliers, and individual study tailored to your department. Minimal training is needed to help professional restorers / recovery contractors and others who have little knowledge of your information, importance level or general operations
An entire documented plan must be fully tested and all test report logged for prospects. This test should be treated as live-run and with plenty of time. When the testing procedures are completed, an initial “dry run” of the plan is performed by conducting a structured review test. The test provides additional information on any additional steps that may need to be included, changes to ineffective procedures, and other appropriate adjustments. These may not become apparent unless an actual dry run test is performed. The plan is then updated to correct any issues identified during the test. First, the plan is performed in sections and after normal working hours to minimize disruptions to the overall operation of the organization. As the plan is further polished, future tests occur during normal working hours.
Once the disaster recovery plan is written and tested, the plan is then submitted to management for approval. It is the ultimate responsibility of the top management that the organization has a proven and tested plan. Management is responsible for establishing policies, procedures and responsibilities for comprehensive contingency planning and reviewing and approving the contingency plan annually, documenting such reviews in writing.
Another important aspect that is often overlooked involves the frequency with which DR plans are updated. Annual updates are recommended, but some industries or organizations require more frequent updates because business processes are evolving or due to faster data growth. To remain relevant, disaster recovery plans must be an integral part of all business analysis processes and should be reviewed at every major business acquisition, every new product launch, and every new system development milestone.
Your business does not remain the same; companies are growing, changing and adapting. An effective disaster recovery plan needs to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it reflects the current state of the business and meets the company’s goals. Not only does it need to be reviewed, but it needs to be tested to make sure it would be a success if implemented.
When things go wrong, it is important to have a robust, purposeful and well-tested disaster mitigation plan. Without a DRAM (DR) plan, your organization is at an unusual risk of losing business, hacking, cyber-attacks, loss of confidential data and more.