Last Updated on 6th November 2020
The Complete Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist: A 6-step guide
The phrase ‘disaster recovery’ is often used and people often don’t understand what it means and why you would need it. Imagine that a phishing email has got past your anti-spam solution and all the other forms of cyber security you have put in place to protect your business. The phishing email contains an executable file that if clicked on will install ransomware on your computer. Your files will be encrypted and your business will grind to a standstill.
What do you do in this situation? You don’t pay the ransom demand to get your files decrypted because you will just make the situation worse. You will be put on something that is often referred to as a ‘sucker list’ which means that you are seen as likely to pay up and will probably end up being attacked again. You need to get your files back to be able to achieve business continuity and resume your normal operations, and this is where your back up and disaster recovery plan will come into play.
A disaster recovery plan is a set of procedures to recover and protect your business in the event of a disaster. It’s the safety-net every business needs to provide the best IT experience for its staff and customers.
According to UK government advice,
“Being more prepared and resilient can give a competitive advantage to your business.”
Your disaster recovery plan should cover everything your business needs to weather the storm. Flood, fire, cybercrime and theft are just a few of the dangers that threaten your business. Each brings different problems to the table that your disaster recovery plan needs to address.
Be prepared for any disaster and build a resolute disaster recovery plan using this simple guide as a checklist.
What should be in your disaster recovery plan?
Your business is the result of years of hard work that you don’t want to lose, so you need to make sure that you have everything you need to create a good disaster recovery plan. In this blog, we have highlighted some of the fundamental aspects you need to be aware of.
1. Protect property and prepare for injuries
Yes, the world is becoming increasingly ‘digital-first’, but don’t forget about valuable physical items and most importantly, the people in your organisation. A disaster recovery plan should answer questions such as:
- Are there enough first aid kits, and are the right people trained to use them?
- What important documents and items need to be backed-up or insured?
- Who oversees headcounts and leads office evacuations?
2. Use the cloud to remove location dependency
If your office is out of action, where can your employees work? Using the cloud is an excellent solution, as it enables employees to access applications from anywhere. It’s a straightforward way to remove dependency on one location if disaster hits.
‘Access from anywhere’ is a key reason businesses move to the cloud. It’s part of the reason that Forresterpredicts 50 percent of businesses will take advantage of the cloud in 2018.
3. Specify what everyone will need to do
When disaster hits, it’s important that everyone knows their role. Clearly defined roles will ensure:
- Employees can prepare for what they need to do in case of a disaster.
- There is accountability and clear ‘chain of command’ when disaster hits.
- You assign roles based on strengths. Got someone with data recovery experience? Great, assign them a key-role.
4. Get back to normal, fast
In the aftermath of a disaster, there’s no reason for your business to take days or weeks to get back to normal. The adage, ‘time is money’ rings true in this scenario. 67 percent of businesses estimate they would lose more than £15,000 for every day of downtime. A good recovery plan enables your business to resume normal operations as soon as possible. Can you answer the following questions?
- What is the target timeframe for your business to resume normal operations after disaster hits?
- What is the plan to re-establish normal processes after a disaster?
- How will you establish IT operation following a disaster?
5. Back-up your datacentre
Your datacentre is a key asset. The best way to protect it from disaster is to use a recovery service like Microsoft Azure Site Recovery. Once it’s set up, you enjoy:
- Applications remain available during outages thanks to automatic recovery
- Guaranteed compliance: test your disaster recovery plan without affecting production workloads or end users.
- Ever-improving software. Azure recovery automatically updates when new Azure features are released.
6. Review, improve and audit your plan
You shouldn’t create a disaster recovery plan then leave it in a drawer or folder somewhere. There needs to be a consistent audit, update and review process for every aspect. After all, your business changes regularly, so your disaster recovery plan needs to change with it. Consider the following:
- Is there a clear process for reviewing the plan itself – who will do this and when?
- Has time been scheduled for feedback from those involved in the plan?
- Who will update details of the recovery plan as the business changes, for example, when new people on-board, or new services are integrated?
Prepare for the worst. Work with the best.
Disaster recovery is an essential part of every IT department in 2018. But, according to LinkedIn, 40 percent of businesses don’t have an adequate recovery plan in place. Don’t become complacent and think disaster won’t happen to you. Instead, integrate these essential steps and build a disaster recovery checklist that covers all bases.
Want to know more ways to protect your IT systems in case of a disaster? Get in touch with one of our experts today.