A disaster recovery plan is a documented process to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in case of a disaster. Basically, it provides a clear idea on various actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster.
Disasters are man-made or natural. Examples include industrial accidents, oil spills, stampedes, fires, nuclear explosions/nuclear radiation and acts of war etc..
Disaster can’t be eliminated, but proactive preparation can mitigate data loss and disruption to operations. Organizations need a disaster recovery plan that includes formal Plan to consider the impacts of disruptions to all essential businesses processes and their dependencies. Phase wise plan includes the precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions.
The Disaster Recovery Plan is to be prepared by the Disaster Recovery Committee, which includes representatives from all critical departments or regions of the department’s purposes. The committee should have at least one representative from computing, management, risk management, records management, security, and building maintenance. The committee’s responsibility is to prepare a timeline to establish a reasonable deadline for completing the written plan. The also responsible to determine critical and noncritical departments. A procedure used to determine the critical needs of a department is to document all of the functions performed by each department. Once the primary functions have been recognized, the operations and processes are then ranked in order of priority: essential, important and non-essential.
Before generating a detailed plan, an organization often performs a business impact analysis (BIA) and hazard analysis (RA), and it determines the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). The RPO describes the prior point in time when an application must be recovered.
The plan should specify the roles and responsibilities of disaster recovery team members and outline the criteria to launch the plan into action, but there is absolutely no one right type of disaster recovery program, nor is there a one-size-fits-all disaster recovery program. Basically, there are three basic strategies that feature in all disaster recovery plans: (a) preventive measures, (b) detective measures, and (c) corrective measures.
(a) Preventive measures: will attempt to prevent a disaster from occurring. These measures attempt to identify and reduce risks. They are designed to mitigate or prevent an event from occurring. These steps may include keeping information backed up and off-site, using surge protectors, installing generators and running routine inspections.
(b) Detective measures: These measures include installing fire alarms, using up-to-date antivirus software, holding employee training sessions, and installing server and network monitoring software.
(c) Corrective measures: These measures focus on repairing or restoring the systems after a disaster. Corrective measures may include keeping crucial documents in the Disaster Recovery Plan.
The Plan should include a listing of first-level contacts and persons/departments inside the business, who can declare a disaster and trigger DR operations. It should also have an outline and content stating the exact procedures to be followed by a disaster. At least 2-4 potential DR sites with hardware/software that meets or exceeds the current manufacturing environment ought to be made available. DR best practices indicate that DR sites should be at least 50 miles away from the Present production site so the Recovery Point Objective (RPO)/Restoration Time Objective (RTO) requirements are Happy
The recovery plan must provide for initial and ongoing employee training. Skills are needed in the reconstruction and salvage stages of the recovery procedure. Your initial training can be achieved through professional seminars, special in-house educational programs, the wise use of consultants and vendors, and individual study tailored to the needs of your department. A minimal amount of training is necessary to assist professional restorers/recovery contractors and others having little knowledge of your information, level of importance, or general operations
An entire documented plan needs to be tested entirely and all testing report should be logged for future potential. This testing ought to be treated as live run and with ample of time. After testing procedures have been completed, an initial”dry run” of the plan is done by conducting a structured walk-through test. The test will provide additional information regarding any additional steps that may need to be contained, changes in procedures that are not effective, and other appropriate adjustments. These may not become evident unless an authentic dry-run test is done. The plan is then updated to correct any problems identified during the exam. Initially, testing of this plan is completed in sections and after normal business hours to minimize disruptions to the overall operations of their organization. As the plan is further polished, future tests occur during regular business hours.
When the disaster recovery plan has been written and tested, the program is then submitted to management for approval. It is top management’s ultimate responsibility that the organization has a documented and tested plan.
Another important factor that is often overlooked involves the frequency with which DR Plans are upgraded. Annual updates are recommended but some industries or organizations require more frequent updates because business processes evolve or due to quicker data growth. To remain relevant, disaster recovery plans should be an essential part of all business analysis procedures and must be revisited at every significant company acquisition, at every new product launch, and at every new system development landmark.
Your business doesn’t stay the same; companies grow, change and realign. An effective disaster recovery plan must be regularly reviewed and updated to make sure it reflects the current state of the company and meets the goals of the business. Not only should it be assessed, but it has to be analyzed to ensure it would be a success if implemented.
When things go awry, it’s important to have a robust, targeted, and well-tested disaster recovery plan.