The Essentials of a Disaster Recovery Plan

No one likes to think of what would cause a disastrous event or what they should do during one.  As unpleasant as disasters are to thinking about, it is essential to develop a Disaster Recovery Plan.  Without one in place, your company could face serious financial repercussions as well as damage its reputation on the occasion of an emergency.  Where time is money, down time is money down the drain.

Misconceptions of Disaster Recovery Planning

There are some misconceptions about disaster recovery planning and continuity plans that businesses often overlook.

Disaster Recovery is Not Expensive

A common misconception is that disaster recovery planning is expensive and only affordable to large companies.  While this may previously have been true due to the former capital costs of maintaining secondary data centers, networks, and servers, today’s cloud-based technologies easily accommodate these needs for all.  Additionally, you can customize your cloud-based services and tailor a plan to fit your needs.

Business Disasters can be Man-made

Your company’s operational headquarters may be far from natural disaster zones, and you do not have to plan for such disasters, but that does not preclude your business from malicious or unintentional man-made disasters.  Cyber-attacks and negligent employee activity can lead to disastrous data breaches.  Disaster recovery plans can help ensure the integrity of data and keep your business running while IT works to resolve malware, viruses, and worms, or denial-of-service attacks.

Onsite Backups are Not Backups  

Setting up onsite backups for servers and networks may work in a sudden equipment or network failure but will not fortify your business when a local disaster strikes.  The same onsite backups are also subject to the local disaster.  Hosting disaster recovery in the cloud can help restore data and applications in merely minutes and get you back on track.

Developing Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster recovery plans, also known as continuity of service plans, require a lot of thought and guidance.  The following are the essential points you must plan for when designing a disaster recovery plan.

Data Backup

Backing up your data is paramount in the disaster recovery process.  Many companies choose cloud-based data backup to handle all their data and application needs.  Many cloud-based service providers offer secure data backup services.  Choosing the right cloud-based provider to backup and secure your data ensures you always have access to your data and applications.

Virtualization

Virtualization is different from cloud-based backups, though both of these processes preserve the continuity of business operations.  Unlike cloud backups, which allow users to access applications and computing resources, virtualization encapsulates the entire system, including operating systems, software, applications, data, and patches on a virtual machine that is hardware independent.  In other words, accessing a virtual server means you do not need a hard drive.

In virtualization, the light machine on your end, referred to as a thin client, accesses the virtual server that gives access to the operating system, software, applications, and data.  This is a highly mobile option and has excellent scalability.  A virtual machine can be set up quickly and restore your business to full operations in the event of a local disaster.  

Test Your Plan

Once you have a plan in place, you need to test it.  Make sure you have everything you need for your plan as well as a clear way to implement it.  Having a recovery plan is great, but you have a serious flaw in the plan if you cannot implement it because you don’t have access to backups or virtualization.  Your disaster recovering planning should always include how you will implement the plan and recovery specialists should be well rehearsed.

Disaster recovery planning is a complex process and many companies turn to third party service providers who specialize in Disaster Recovery as-a-Service (DRaaS ).  These specialists can help design a plan that fits your company’s specific needs and gives you the peace of mind of having a solid plan in place and assistance for when a disaster strikes.  Hopefully, this will never be the case, but a disaster recovery plan is like having insurance; no one likes having it, but they are thankful if they ever need to use it.

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