January 5, 2021

5 Steps for Building an IT Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

Things go wrong, malice prevails, and disasters can strike a business at any time. An IT Disaster Recovery Plan is essential in protecting your business from uncertain risk. 

In the past, corporations, financial companies, and big companies were most at risk of cyber-attacks. Netflix, JP Morgan, and prevalent Nation-State attacks are good examples of attacks that forced big businesses to invest heavily in preventing or mitigating such attacks with IT disaster recovery and prevention.

Malicious attackers are not focusing their attacks on small and medium-sized businesses. Innovative small companies in Los Angeles and other major cities are at higher risk because their reliance on information makes them an easy target.

“But I have a VPN, secure connections, a firewall, and my antivirus is up to date,” you reply.

The Worst IT Disasters are the Least Expected

Even if your business has never been attacked, it pays to be ready in case it happens. According to INC, in 2020, almost 50% of small businesses in the US suffered some kind of IT attack. More than 70% of all business attacks targeted small businesses.

The WannaCry ransomware attack that hit almost 250,000 computers worldwide had the most impact on businesses that did not prepare any IT disaster recovery plan. Even with the latest malware detection systems and trustworthy employees, cybersecurity experts recommend you have a continual IT recovery plan in place.

McAfee released a report titled Datagate: The Next Inevitable Corporate Disaster that proves how small businesses are vulnerable to data breaches and losses. In this age of information, the report predicts that malicious and unintentional security and data breaches may spell the end of as many as 30% of major corporations by 2030.

It is important now more than ever for SMEs and startups to continually assess their IT infrastructure and put in place Information Security measures to minimize the losses of an IT disaster and help them get back up sooner.

What is an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan, or DRP, is an official, documented approach that a business would adopt to ensure operations continuity in the face of malicious or accidental IT security incidents. A DRP is basically a set of procedures, tools, and policies that details how a business would recover from data loss, corruption, or theft.

A comprehensive DRP must expect and plan for any kind of disaster that may affect a business, covering:

  • Natural events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and lightning strikes.
  • Failure of IT infrastructure and equipment such as power damage and drive failures.
  • Malicious attacks such as malware and data leakage or corruption.
  • Damages resulting from human mistakes such as forgetting passwords and accidental erasure.

When creating an IT disaster recovery plan, a business must set it up to enable a quick response to a disaster. It must outline the immediate actions to take to minimize damages resulting from the disaster and facilitate a fast resumption of business processes.

An IT disaster recovery plan can be fine-tuned to the type, size, and operational structure of the business. As a rule of thumb, the typical DRP may include:

  • Listing of critical IT assets as well as their maximum allowed outage times.
  • A guide of emergency procedures that staff can follow when an IT disaster occurs.
  • Tools and technologies that can be activated to mitigate losses and initiate recovery.
  • An on-standby disaster recovery team, including contact information and coordination procedures.

How to Build a Successful IT Disaster Recovery Plan

cybersecurity 3 | Backup and Disaster Recovery
When an IT disaster strikes, the first course of action is to minimize data loss and get the systems back online as soon as possible.

Follow these five steps to build an effective disaster recovery solution for your business.

Step 1: Detail Clear Disaster Recovery Objectives

When an IT disaster strikes, the first course of action is to minimize data loss and get the systems back online as soon as possible. A good DRP must outline the disaster recovery objectives with the parameters and steps to take to recover data.

A Recovery Time Objective (RTO) begins the countdown from the maximum time the system is down. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) evaluates the maximum limit of data loss that would cause catastrophic damage to the business.

Step 2: Build a Recovery Team

Every organization should have clear identifiable personnel, including internal employees and external consultants, to manage a disaster and initiate recovery. The DRP must assign the team members responsibilities and detail pre-approved budgets and resources for recovery services and tools.

Step 3: Network Infrastructure Documentation

The data recovery process heavily relies on organization and pragmatism in the face of a disaster. The Network Infrastructure Documentation is a draft that provides network configurations to ensure proper execution of the IT disaster recovery plan. This document also contains the holistic blueprint of the system network to make it easy to identify and isolate corrupted or compromised network infrastructure.

Step 4: Test and Implement a Data Recovery Technique

There are many IT disaster recovery solutions. At first look, it may seem impossible or even too expensive for a small business to prepare for them all. In some cases, what is critical to an organization may determine the recovery techniques they choose. If you are unsure, consider outsourcing the recovery process to a specialist company that will understand your recovery needs better.

Step 5: Document the IT Disaster Recovery Procedure

The DRP not only details potential threats and incident criteria, but also goes deep to document how each can be mitigated and recovery initiated.

An all-inclusive checklist pinpoints potential disasters and outlines the objectives of the recovery. The already established STO and SPO standards will guide the recovery team to monitor the automated or implement a manual IT recovery process. Thus, the efficiency of the recovery may depend on the clarity of the disaster recovery procedure document.

The Better Way to Be Prepared for IT Disasters

The idea behind IT disaster recovery is to anticipate threats and be ready when they strike. The most damaging threats are those that we cannot predict. However, with a little help, your business could be prepared to pick up and continue operations in case of a cyber-attack or accidental outage.

If your business operates in Los Angeles, talk to FrontLine IT Support Services today to get expert advice on fortifying your business against disasters.

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