Disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan is a documented process for recovering and protecting an enterprise IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Basically, it provides a clear idea of ​​the various actions to take before, during and after a disaster.

Disasters are natural or man-made. Examples include industrial accidents, oil spills, stampedes, fires, nuclear explosions / nuclear radiation, and acts of war, etc. Other types of man-made disasters include the more cosmic scenarios of catastrophic global warming, nuclear war, and bioterrorism, while natural disasters are earthquakes, floods, heat waves, hurricanes / cyclones, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes, and landslides. earth, cosmic and asteroid threats. .

Disaster cannot be eliminated, but proactive preparation can mitigate data loss and disruption to operations. Organizations require a disaster recovery plan that includes a formal plan to consider the impacts of disruptions on all essential business processes and their dependencies. The phased plan consists of precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so that the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions.

The Disaster Recovery Plan will be prepared by the Disaster Recovery Committee, which includes representatives from all departments or critical areas of the department’s functions. The committee must have at least one representative from administration, IT, risk management, records management, security, and building maintenance. The committee’s responsibility is to prepare a schedule to establish a reasonable time frame for completing the written plan. He is also responsible for identifying critical and non-critical departments. One procedure used to determine the critical needs of a department is to document all the functions performed by each department. Once the primary functions have been recognized, the operations and processes are ranked in order of priority: essential, important, and nonessential.

Disaster recovery planning typically involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before generating a detailed plan, an organization often performs a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Risk Analysis (RA), and sets the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) . The RTO describes the target amount of time that a business application can be idle, generally measured in hours, minutes, or seconds. The RPO describes the earlier point in time when an application must be recovered.

The plan should define the roles and responsibilities of the members of the disaster recovery team and describe the criteria for implementing the plan; however, there is no one right type of disaster recovery plan, nor is there a one size fits all disaster recovery. plan. Basically, there are three basic strategies that are included in all disaster recovery plans: (a) preventive measures, (b) detection measures, and (c) corrective measures.

(a) Preventive measures: You will try to prevent a disaster from happening. These measures seek to identify and reduce risks. They are designed to mitigate or prevent an event from happening. These measures may include keeping data backed up and off-site, wearing surge protectors, installing generators, and conducting routine inspections.

(b) Detection Measures: These measures include the installation of fire alarms, the use of up-to-date anti-virus software, the holding of employee training sessions, and the installation of network and server monitoring software.

(c) Corrective measures: These measures focus on repairing or restoring systems after a disaster. Corrective measures may consist of maintaining critical documents in the Disaster Recovery Plan.

The Plan should include a list of top-level contacts and people / departments within the company, who can declare a disaster and activate DR operations. It should also include an outline and content that indicates the exact procedures to be followed in the event of a disaster. At least 2-4 potential disaster recovery sites should be available with hardware / software that meets or exceeds the current production environment. DR best practices indicate that DR sites must be at least 50 miles away from the existing production site for the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) / Restore Time Objective (RTO) requirements to be met

The recovery plan should provide initial and ongoing training for employees. Skills are needed in the rebuilding and salvage phases of the recovery process. Your initial training can be accomplished through professional seminars, special in-house educational programs, the wise use of consultants and vendors, and individual study tailored to the needs of your department. A minimal amount of training is needed to assist professional restorers / recovery contractors and others who have little knowledge of your information, level of importance, or general operations.

A complete documented plan must be fully tested and all test reports recorded for future perspective. This test should be treated as a live performance and with sufficient time. Once the test procedures have been completed, an initial “test” of the plan is performed by conducting a structured walk test. The test will provide additional information on any additional steps that need to be included, changes to procedures that are not effective, and other appropriate adjustments. These may not be apparent unless an actual dry run test is performed. The plan is later updated to correct any problems identified during testing. Initially, testing of the plan is done in sections and after normal business hours to minimize disruptions to the overall operations of the organization. As the plan is refined, future tests are conducted during normal business hours.

After the disaster recovery plan has been written and tested, the plan is submitted to management for approval. It is the ultimate responsibility of top management that the organization has a documented and proven plan. Management is responsible for establishing policies, procedures, and responsibilities for comprehensive contingency planning and for reviewing and approving the contingency plan annually, documenting such reviews in writing.

Another important aspect that is often overlooked is how often disaster recovery plans are updated. Annual updates are recommended, but some industries or organizations require more frequent updates due to evolving business processes or faster data growth. To remain relevant, disaster recovery plans must be an integral part of all business analysis processes and must be reviewed at every major corporate acquisition, at every new product launch, and at every new system development milestone. .

Your business is not the same; companies grow, change and realign. An effective disaster recovery plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that it reflects the current state of the business and meets the objectives of the business. Not only should it be reviewed, but it should be tested to ensure that it is a success if implemented.

When things go wrong, it is important to have a solid, specific, and proven disaster recovery plan. Without a disaster recovery (DR) plan, your organization is at exceptional risk of loss of business, hacking, cyberattacks, loss of confidential data, and more.

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