Necessary Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan

elements of a disaster recovery plan

As digitization continues to become the norm, it’s an undeniable fact that your IT is critical to your business. In the event of a disaster, your business may be at risk of suffering downtime and losing critical data if you haven’t planned accordingly, which could have potentially devastating repercussions; it’s estimated that 3 out of 5 SMBs will go out of business within 6 months of suffering a major cyber attack. 

That’s why it’s essential for every business to create a thorough disaster recovery plan (DRP). We have defined three key phases to include to get your business back on track as quickly as possible. We’ll share some of the essential elements of each phase needed to create a successful disaster recovery plan.

Assets & Recovery Objectives

First and foremost, you need to know what assets might be impacted in the event of a disaster. The first step in creating your recovery plan should be to document your assets and outline your recovery objectives.

Include a complete inventory of your technology assets at the start of your disaster recovery plan to make sure nothing is missed. Be sure to include:

  • Network equipment
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Cloud services
  • Critical data
  • Encryption keys and security info

Once you know what needs to be recovered, you’ll need to define a path to recovery. In each phase of your DRP, you’ll have critical objectives to reach that help ensure you’re making efficient progress.

These objectives fall into one of two categories: recovery time objectives (RTO), which define the maximum amount of time your business can afford for assets to be down before recovery, and recovery point objectives (RPO), which defines the essential assets that absolutely must be recovered.

Notification & Activation Phase

The first phase of your disaster recovery plan accounts for alerting your team and activating your plan. This phase will look different depending on the type of disaster you’re dealing with: a hurricane, fire, or other natural disasters will require very different protocols than a major cybersecurity breach, for example. 

Start by outlining what happens when damage is detected: Who should be notified first? What needs to happen immediately? How is each layer of your team affected, and what action do they need to take? 

This phase should also include an initial damage assessment, which determines the exact level of impact on your organization. You should hope for the best, but plan for the worst; make sure you have contingencies in place that account for everything from a relatively minor network outage to a total loss of system operations. 

Recovery Phase

This second phase of your recovery begins once your team has been notified and an initial damage assessment has determined the path forward. The focus of the recovery phase is to restore operations to an acceptable level as quickly as possible so that you can resume essential processes.

This phase will include a more detailed damage assessment and implementation of new processes and emergency systems that allow you to serve clients and begin crisis communication.

Reconstitution Phase

This part of the recovery process works to take operations from minimally acceptable levels to full recovery of normal operation. This phase may involve replacing damaged hardware that wasn’t deemed critical for immediate recovery but can now be restored, communicating specifics of the incident and recovery to clients, etc.

Recovery and restoration become much simpler when you have secure backups in place. Although you may not be able to prevent damage to your hardware in the case of a flood or fire, secure cloud backups can prevent data loss in the case of any disaster, minimizing downtime and allowing you to get back to full functionality much faster.

Building Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster recovery can only happen quickly and effectively with a detailed plan in place. Tolar Systems works to optimize IT services and keep data secure through an array of managed IT services. We specialize in disaster recovery services as part of our full suite of IT services, and we both work proactively to help you prevent disasters when possible.

When you work with us, you’re not on your own—we help you assess your needs, develop your plan, and we’ll be there with you every step of the way if it becomes necessary to use it. We help you create detailed steps like assessing potential risks, testing and reviewing your plan, and putting backups in place to cover all your bases.

We’re experienced with helping businesses in times of crisis—we helped our customers seamlessly transition to remote work as COVID shut the nation down last year, and we’ll help you be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Contact us for expert assistance developing your secure disaster recovery plan today.