Disaster Recovery Methodology: 4 Best Practices to Avoid Downtime
A business’s ability to recover from a disaster depends on how extensively it plans before the disaster occurs. Without following the right disaster recovery methodology, organizations will struggle to restore operations after a critical event – if at all.
- Malware, flooding, tornado, human error: you can’t predict what tomorrow will bring. But you can prepare for how the business will respond in each of those disaster scenarios.
- Identifying risks and potential damage is a critical part of disaster recovery methodology. This is especially true for IT operations, but it also applies to the company-wide business recovery plan.
If you want to be able to recover rapidly from a worst-case scenario, we’ve put together 4 preventative disaster recovery procedures you need to implement immediately.
Outlining Your Disaster Recovery Methodology
While every business is unique, this disaster recovery plan checklist outlines some fundamental best practices that can be applied to almost any organization. Your own disaster recovery methodology will be more comprehensive, structured around the specific risks and needs of your organization.
1) Determine key personnel
If you’re creating a formal business continuity plan (and you should), one of the most important first steps is defining the “who” in disaster situations:
Who’s in charge? Who has the decision-making power to implement your disaster recovery procedures? Who has access to key systems and data? Who needs to be contacted during a critical event (and by which communication methods)? Also, who’s in charge of keeping all these answers up to date in your BCP?
2) Assess risks
Every IT disaster recovery plan template should include a spot for risk assessment. This is where you identify the organization’s specific vulnerability spots in various types of disasters.
What could bring operations to a halt? Could a server go down? Could the entire network go offline? What would cause it? Malware? Aging infrastructure? Natural disasters? How secure is your company data? Could data be compromised by malware? What is the likelihood of these scenarios? (Consider organizing them by threat level.)
The key here is to think about every scenario in which the business is at risk, whether you have adequate preventative measures in place or not.
3) Perform a business impact analysis
Now that you’ve identified the risk, the next part of your disaster recovery methodology is identifying the impact on the business: projected damage, operational downtime, cost for recovery, and so on. It’s extremely important that you are realistic in your projections, no matter how unfavorable they may seem. Your job is to prepare the business for a worst-case scenario. No surprises.
If operations grind to a halt, how rapidly could they be restored? How much will each hour of downtime cost the business? If data were compromised, how quickly could backups be restored? What if the entire office was destroyed in a fire?
4) Outline preventative controls
By now, you should have a comprehensive list of risks and their unique impact on the business. Now, it’s time to consider what you’re going to do about them.
In this section of your disaster recovery plan document, you’ll identify what measures are already in place to prevent risks or mitigate the impact. This is also where you’ll recommend further measures to fill in the gaps. Be clear about the action steps that need to be taken immediately to ensure business continuity.
What technologies are you using for network security? How often are you performing data backups and with what tools? Which software or third-party companies play a role (or should) in minimizing downtime? Where will the business operate if its location is suddenly inaccessible?
Disasters are unpredictable. And chances are you won’t have a 100% iron-clad solution for every possible scenario. But by preparing the business as much as realistically possible, you can effectively mitigate the impact and reduce downtime when disaster strikes.