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Data Disaster Recovery Plan

A Data Disaster Recovery Plan helps companies restore their operations after a sudden mishap. Learn how you can develop an effective IT Disaster Recovery Plan.
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Data Disaster Recovery Plan

Data is the most critical asset of a company. Organizations try to protect sensitive customer information in several ways, but of course, they can never be entirely safe from cybercriminals. In fact, the University of Maryland states that a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds.

To overcome such attacks, organizations establish Data Disaster Recovery Plans for several aspects of their business function. This way, they know how to proactively restore their operations as soon as possible after a sudden disaster. 

In this article, we will get better insights into Disaster Recovery Plan and understand how organizations can establish one. We will also discuss the seven chapters of the typical Data Disaster Recovery Plan structure.

What Is a Data Disaster Recovery Plan?

A comprehensive Data Disaster Recovery Plan, also known as the IT Disaster Recovery Plan, includes guidelines that direct an organization to respond to sudden situations promptly. These events can be cyber attacks, power outages, or natural calamities. 

If companies stay uninformed or unorganized about responding to these mishaps, they may lose their brand authority, customers' trust, or finances.

A Data Disaster Recovery Plan is a formal piece of document that standardizes how to reduce the after-effects of disruptive events and instantly restore operations. 

An effective plan is organized based on the nature and location of the disaster. It also provides a detailed step-by-step guide to help stakeholders understand and implement them efficiently.

Structure of an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

A Data Disaster Recovery Plan consists of the seven chapters listed below:

  1. Goals. What a company should keep an eye on during a disaster. The goals are set by considering the Recovery Time Object (RTO), Recovery Point Object (RPO), the maximum downtime of every crucial system, and the intensity of bearable data loss.
  2. Personnel. The entity responsible for implementing the IT Disaster Recovery Plan.
  3. IT Inventory. Identify the company's software and hardware assets, their efficiency, and whether they are purchased, leased, or used as a service.
  4. Backup Plans. How effective is a company's data backup plan? Where and how is each piece of sensitive data stored and backed up? Evaluating devices and folders and identifying those that contain data backups and those that don't.
  5. Disaster Recovery Steps. Determining how a company responds to emergencies to limit damages and mitigate potential cybersecurity attacks.
  6. Disaster Recovery Center. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan also establishes a remote data restoration site consisting of all crucial systems with backup data. The business operations can easily be transferred to this site whenever a disaster hits.
  7. Recovery. Finally, evaluate the steps and procedures that help organizations come out of data or system loss to smooth operations.

Benefits of Data Disaster Recovery Plan

Organizations spend a hefty amount of time and money developing their proprietary data. Unfortunately, one disaster is enough to cause a massive dent in their efforts. 

Therefore, businesses need to plan a Data Disaster Recovery strategy to overcome and restore their data and operations quickly. Here are some benefits of establishing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan:

Protection

This goes without saying; the ultimate purpose of a Data Disaster Recovery Plan is to secure sensitive data from being exposed. 

Every year, IT systems are growing and integrating into one another which poses potentially massive threats to the information an organization stores. 

Convenient Data Management

Restoring and backing up data on every device is quite stressful and time-consuming for organizations. However, with a Data Disaster Recovery Plan, the data is managed via a complete backup system. So, users don't have to create backups separately on their devices.

Enhanced Productivity

Organizations should assign at least two responsible personnel to execute data recovery plans. In case one of these employees is unavailable, the other can fill its place. This way, an organization's productivity doesn't get compromised.

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How to Develop a Data Disaster Recovery Plan?

Creating a Data Disaster Recovery Plan isn't easy. Organizations need to be extra careful while writing documents. The following steps will help you establish an efficient Data Disaster Recovery Plan:

Step 1: Identify Your IT Assets 

First, organizations should identify the software, hardware, network equipment, and data that needs to be protected. Then, after listing all the IT assets, note each asset's location, type, and relation with the other. 

Step 2: Determine the Importance of Your Assets 

The next step is to understand the criticality of your assets and their importance for your organization. To do that, sort down the assets based on their impacts to disturb your operations. The categories can be "high impact, medium impact, and low impact."

Step 3: Risk Evaluation 

Now, identify the threats your business and assets are likely to face. You can take help from the employees responsible for managing crucial systems and inquire about the reasons that may interrupt their operations.

Step 4: Set Recovery Objectives 

This step requires the input of upper management and operations staff to better understand the impacts of disruptions in every critical system. It's effective to evaluate these interruptions according to different time zones, such as after one minute, hour, day, or even a week. Then, utilize these findings to set your RTO and RPO.

Step 5: Choose Disaster Recovery Tools

Organizations have to evaluate their final Data Disaster Recovery Plan set up in this step. For that, ask these questions:

  • Does the organization need an alternative data recovery site?
  • If so, where should it be located?
  • Will the site be self-hosted or cloud-based?
  • Which backups need to be created and maintained?

To find answers, choose the right disaster recovery tools, software, or stakeholders capable of helping you out.

Step 6: Set the Budget

The most effective way to set an IT Disaster Recovery Plan budget is to find the right balance between investment and threat in disaster recovery technology. This can be done by presenting multiple budgeting options to management see as though upper level options  have higher costs but impressive RTO and RPO. 

Step 7: Approval

Once the budget is set, the agreed draft of the data recovery plan is then finalized and approved by the management.

Step 8: Circulation of the Plan 

After approval, the Data Disaster Recovery Plan is communicated throughout the team and upper management. This step is key to ensure that all members of the organization have a clear understanding of what steps to take in the event of a disasister. 

Step 9: Testing 

Finally, the testing phase of the plan starts. Companies can organize realistic disaster drills and see if the plan is effective to cope with the situation or not. Doing so also shows whether the staff is acting upon the plan or if there are any problems they're facing. 

It's recommended to review the plan every six months to ensure its relevance and effectiveness to the organization.

Establishing a Data Disaster Recovery Plan requires extensive knowledge of the topic. If you're confused at any point, you can give Accountable HQ a call to learn how you can design and implement your IT Disaster Recovery Plan. We are a risk & compliance company that helps organizations stay compliant with every data security rule.

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