Disaster Recovery Checklist for Your Business

Disaster Recovery Checklist for Your Business

Data theft and security breaches not only lead to loss of critical and sensitive data but can also have financial loss leading to bankruptcy. More than 93% of the companies cannot bear the damage and file for bankruptcy within a year after any major disaster deprive them of their data for more than ten days [1]. Not only the human factors, i.e., cybercriminals, internal players, or hackers but natural events like earthquakes or hurricanes can also disrupt your whole organization destroying your IT infrastructure. Therefore, a detailed disaster recovery plan must be established beforehand to keep the system operational and cope with any upcoming event.

Recovery plans are usually established in organizations to stay one step ahead of any potential problems. In order to avoid sensitive data loss and keep the financial losses minimum, it is necessary that you plan recovery strategies effectively. It includes the risk assessment, having services like SaaS, contracts with CSPs, and a comprehensive staff having expertise in disaster management. Moreover, a detailed checklist that every organization must maintain to keep a balance and recover after a disaster is discussed below. 

What is RTO and RPO:

The first thing on your checklist must be the Recovery Time Objective and the Recovery Point Objective, which is the minimum time needed to recover all your important data, including applications and the age of the essential data to recover, respectively. These objectives define the actual time and essential files and applications needed to resume the vital operations. In order to set RPO and RTO, input from all the departments is necessary. These objectives determine the limited and important resources that can help normalize the operations while minimizing financial loss.

Prioritizing the inventory:

A comprehensive list of the essential software and hardware components must be prepared. All the data and applications should be divided into three categories, i.e., the critical ones that can paralyze the whole business if not available, those used less frequently, and the non-essential ones that do not primarily affect the business operations. 

Defining and determining the critical applications and hardware can help you focus better on revamping and resuming immediately after any significant data loss or natural disaster. 

Drafting a response procedure:

Another major thing is to document your response plan or strategy to follow any disaster. This includes the employees' roles, communication procedures, clients, vendors, customers, data-recovery and backup procedures, post-disaster activities, and recovery operations team plan. Again, it should be brief and easily understandable by the staff members, so they focus on resuming and recovering the operations only instead of panicking.

Disaster recovery sites:

Along with a recovery plan, a disaster recovery site is also essential to resume the crucial operations of the business. This site must be easily accessible and can accommodate the organization's data, assets, infrastructure, and staff. It can be a functional data center or just a place that can handle necessary hardware to run critical applications for resuming the operations.

Identifying post-disaster responsibilities:

Another checklist in your disaster recovery plan is to clearly identify the roles of all the employees, from board members to help desk executives. 

Responsibilities such as decision-making, recovery procedures, PR announcements, recovery site management, and declaration to media and vendors should be assigned to a specific person. A detailed flowchart must be prepared along with contact details and emergency numbers of the personnel. 

Carry out practices and mock drills:

After you are sure that you have a practical recovery plan checklist, you must practice putting that plan into action at least twice a year. Testing your strategies will help identify any vulnerabilities like slow internet connection at recovery site or failed backup. You can renew your checklist and prioritize your activities too based on the requirements every year.

References

[1] "WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF LOST DATA TO BUSINESS?," WorkSpace, [Online]. Available: https://www.workspace.co.uk/content-hub/technology/opinion-what-is-the-true-cost-of-lost-data-to-bus#:~:text=The%20results%20of%20a%20similar,one%20year%2C%2050%20percent%20immediately.. [Accessed 08 July 2021].

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