Unplanned downtime can demobilize your business for an indeterminable time, negatively impacting all levels of your organization. Whether a natural disaster or malicious cyberattack, companies must have a reliable disaster recovery team in place for developing and executing their continuity plans.
Despite their subtle definitional differences, business continuity and disaster recovery planning are often used synonymously because they both entail getting your operations back online successfully. Disaster recovery is technically one aspect of business continuity. The team responsible for disaster recovery, however, must establish clear business continuity processes and procedures while implementing a clear and executable plan to ensure data recovery in the unlikely event of a disaster.
Developing a logical and sensible disaster recovery plan is critical. The successful outcome of it, however, depends on the team you assemble to get your company back up and running as quickly as possible. Let’s take a closer look at what defines disaster recovery, why having a plan is important, and who is responsible for carrying it out.
What Is IT Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery describes the organizational strategy for regaining access and functionality to its IT infrastructure after a catastrophic incident. The unanticipated downtime could be the consequence of a natural disaster, cyberattack, or global health-related businesses disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic. Because catastrophe always arrives suddenly and in diverse forms, prepared businesses develop several disaster recovery approaches to cover multiple scenarios before integrating them into a comprehensive business continuity plan.
Successful disaster recovery depends upon the reproduction of data and computing functions in an offsite location unaffected by the active disaster. As your local servers go down after a natural disaster or your critical infrastructure fails after a cyberattack, getting your businesses back online depends upon a secondary location where you’ve already backed up your data. Under ideal conditions, you should be able to divert your computer processing to this same offsite location to keep your operations running smoothly.
So what constitutes an effective recovery plan? The primary elements of an strong disaster recovery plan should include the following:
Your disaster recovery team –
The task force you’ve created to develop, implement, and manage your disaster recovery plan. While your disaster recovery plan defines each team member’s role and responsibilities, keep in mind that disaster could impact these individuals as well. In the event of a catastrophic disruption, be sure the plan is clear enough to understand by team members who didn’t develop it and promotes strong communication channels between your employees, vendors, and customers.
Risk assessment –
Evaluate any prospective hazards or pitfalls placing your company at risk. Create several hypothetical situations and strategize the response and resources required to resume normal operations. Look at multiple event types and ask yourself what protection measures are necessary.
Critical asset identification –
Establish in your recovery plan which systems, data, applications, and IT infrastructure are essential for business continuity as you outline the steps to recover your data.
Backup procedures –
Assess what has to be backed up or located offsite. Determine who should perform the backups and the best way to implement them. Outline a proper recovery point objective indicating the intervals and frequencies for routine backups, including a recovery time objective that states the maximum allowable downtime after a disaster.
Testing and optimization strategies –
Your disaster recovery team is responsible for regularly testing and updating the disaster recovery plan to address evolving threats. Maintaining an adequate awareness of every new worst-case scenario ensures you’ll be prepared to respond should an unexpected disaster occur.
Why Is IT Disaster Recovery Important?
No business owner likes to imagine the worst, and it’s for this good reason that many disaster recovery plans aren’t sufficiently developed enough to respond to emergent threats. Executives and managers who ignore or procrastinate on disaster recovery planning do so at an egregious risk to their operations. Serious weather events don’t just disrupt Saturday afternoon baseball games -they can cost your company tens of thousands in unnecessary downtime.
We’ve learned during the latest health crises that most hospitals around the globe haven’t developed effective disaster recovery plans, resulting in serious worldwide economic disruptions from which supply chains are still struggling to recover. Business owners should assume that their internal IT departments have their disaster recovery plans under control. In fact, HIPPA regulations require some industries such as health care to maintain up-to-date recovery plans. Depending on your business, failure to keep your continuity strategies current could land you in regulatory trouble.
Who Is Responsible for IT Disaster Recovery?
Executive managers and an expert IT team with the appropriate specializations should be responsible for developing and executing your disaster recovery plan. The following list highlights the essential players involved in a well-assembled disaster recovery team:
Senior management – While your company executives may not be directly involved with disaster recovery planning, they should maintain diligent oversight of its development and implementation. When it comes to strategizing disaster recovery, senior managers approve any objectives concerning:
- Overall strategy
- Overcoming obstacles
Crisis management coordinators –
This role handles the oversight of the data recovery process after disaster strikes. Crisis management coordinators are the first to initiate the recovery plan and coordinate efforts across multiple departments to carry it out.
Business continuity planning managers –
While many consider business continuity and disaster recovery as one in the same, business continuity reflects a slightly broader initiative. Sound business continuity planning is integral to any disaster recovery effort, however. Business continuity managers focus on the entire organization while honing in on recovering specific technologies and business functions impacted by the disaster.
Recovery and impact assessment technicians –
Last but certainly not least, you must establish a proficient impact and asset recovery team. This group represents the most experienced and skilled members of your disaster recovery team and holds the most responsibility in the recovery process. Most companies dedicate at least four infrastructure representatives to this team to facilitate network, server, storage, database, and ransomware data recovery.
Optimize Your Disaster Recovery Planning with PCH Technologies
PCH Technologies, a leading provider of IT support and consulting to small businesses in New Jersey, can help you integrate an effective recovery plan. To learn more about developing an up-to-date disaster recovery plan for your organization, call (856) 754-7500 today.