Why do you need a disaster recovery plan?

It’s just a matter of time before you encounter a major disruption to your IT infrastructure that results in the loss of mission-critical business data, halts day-to-day operations and adversely affects your customers. A disaster recovery plan outlines the procedures necessary to ensure fast, successful recovery of mission critical applications and data after any disruption.

What should every disaster recovery plan include?

A comprehensive, effective disaster recovery plan identifies all the activities, resources and procedures needed to carry out all processing requirements during interruptions to normal business operations. It also assigns responsibilities, whether it’s your organization’s role or your cloud service provider’s. The plan ensures coordination and communication among everyone involved who’ve been assigned to the recovery planning strategy, including external points of contact and vendors.

What objectives should guide a disaster recovery plan?

A truly effective disaster recovery plan aims to minimize economic loss, provide the organization stability by reducing disruptions to operations, and limit potential exposure while complying with regulatory requirements and protect assets.

What should a disaster recovery plan cover?

Your disaster recovery plan should be clear about what business processes are in scope, particularly if it involves your service provider. It may include servers, network services, applications and databases. The scope of a typical disaster recovery plan addresses technical recovery in the event of a significant disruption as part of a larger business continuity plan (BCP) and should be clearly spelled out, especially if it’s to be executed by your service provider.

What’s the definition of a disaster?

A disaster is any event that results in the specified mission critical application systems and / or data being unavailable for a period of time, threatens the continued stability and/or continuance of an institution, brings about great loss and/or damage, or that creates an inability on the organization’s part to perform critical functions. Part of developing your plan is defining those parameters.

Where should a disaster recovery plan be stored?

Everyone involved in your disaster recovery plan should have an up-to-date, hard copy of it since a mission critical incident may make digital copies inaccessible. Both soft and hard copies should be stored at multiple locations across your organization, as well as at your service provider.

How often should a disaster recovery plan be updated?

A disaster recovery plan is not set in stone. It will need to be updated as personnel change, software is updated, and hardware is upgraded. Vendors and service providers will also change over time. Any incident is a learning opportunity to update the plan.

If you haven’t begun to think about disaster recovery planning or feel your plan needs an update, check out our Disaster Recovery Primer.