Disaster recovery is the art and science of responding to a cyber disaster in the most effective way possible. It’s a fairly simple idea, but it can be implemented in a near-limitless number of ways. It all comes down to your specific situation, and that is why you will need to create a disaster recovery plan. This plan should be as specific as possible, as vague and unclear plans are completely pointless. Let’s talk about the crucial things that should be included in any disaster recovery plan.
1. Start With An Inventory Assessment
Digital assets can be tracked and counted in the same way as physical merchandise. Thus, you should begin with an inventory of your digital assets. When cyber-criminals intend to victimize you, they are obviously going to target data that has the potential to be profitable. Thus, those potentially profitable assets are the things that must be guarded with the greatest care.
As you take inventory of all your valuable and critical data, you should be prioritizing them into various “levels.” This will allow you to focus on those assets that are most likely to be targeted. For instance, your customers’ credit card information would definitely be in the “most valuable” category, as criminals can use it to directly rob your customers. On the other hand, procedural documents that don’t contain particularly sensitive information would probably be filed in a lower-priority category.
2. Effective Use Of Backups
This is one of the best precautions that you can take against any data disaster. Backing up your data makes it far easier to restore any damaged resources. Depending on the severity of the incident, backups can sometimes serve as a stand-alone solution. However, in most cases, they are part of a cohesive plan. Still, they remain one of the most important parts. Backups give you a great tool against data loss, ransomware, and all sorts of other dangers.
Backups can be kept in a number of places, depending on your needs and preferences. You can go with an offline backup system, in which your most crucial data is stored on machines that cannot access the internet. This means the data cannot be taken except by old-fashioned physical theft, which is much more difficult. However, offline backup is not as quick or convenient.
Some other people choose to go with a cloud backup, which works in a similar way. The only difference is that the data is stored in a cloud network. It will be closed off from the rest of the internet using encryption, firewalls, etc. However, because it can still access and be accessed by the internet at large, cloud backups can have some security disadvantages. The key is to use a properly secured cloud network, which mitigates most of the dangers.
External servers are also a good place to store your backup files, which will normally take the form of a system image file. This is just a compressed file that includes all the data from a particular machine in a relatively small package. The smaller file sizes make it far more practical to store your backups. Of course, external backup servers have to be isolated from your main network in order to avoid being compromised.
3. Risk Assessment
Having worked out your data inventory and your backup system, you will now need to consider the risks that are likely to exist for your organization. During the data inventory, you will probably have a good chance to look at the general state of the system. Based on that, you should be able to figure out where the weaknesses in your defenses might lie. You should then be able to do a comprehensive risk assessment that considers all likely possibilities for disaster and plans against them.
It is not possible to make an impenetrable system. However, it is possible to make one that is near-impenetrable. In order to do that, you need to honestly assess the weak points (the gaps in your armor, so to speak) and close those gaps by whatever means are necessary. For instance, if you have a lot of network users who are not tech-savvy at all, social engineering attacks will be one of your bigger risks. If you have no idea where your risks or vulnerabilities might be, penetration testing is a great place to start.
4. Creating Disaster Response Teams And Drilling Them Thoroughly
It isn’t enough to simply make a plan. You must also plan for the proper implementation of your plan. Otherwise, it will do no good. You should start by identifying which of your personnel has the greatest level of cybersecurity/IT knowledge. Those are the people you want for the disaster response teams. They must be able to quickly identify a threat and take the appropriate response actions. On this subject, it might be helpful to review the CSIRT policies of the U.S. Government, which also uses this approach.
Every team should know what it is supposed to do first in the event of an emergency. Further, every member of that team must know what they are to do. Otherwise, crucial time will be lost as people try to figure out these things on the fly. Thus, disaster response drills are crucially important here. Yes, there is no way that a drill can cover every possibility, but it can at least cover the most likely risks.
If you need help with your disaster recovery plan, That help is not difficult to find. In fact, it is usually a good idea to bring in some expert consultation for this sort of thing. One oversight can create a glaring vulnerability, so you definitely want the most trained people making that disaster recovery plan. That’s where PCH Technologies can help. We provide a wide range of IT-related services, including disaster recovery. We can help with planning, execution, troubleshooting, and any other aspect of your disaster recovery situation. If you would like to know more, you can call PCH at (856) 754-7500.