For many organisations, disaster recovery can be a low priority. New enterprises are focused on securing revenue sources and big corporations are therefore reluctant to upgrade processes and equipment. It can be a challenging task to find dedicated funds to execute an effective disaster recovery plan, especially given that it has little return on investment in terms of direct revenue or cost savings.

For any business unfortunate enough to be caught unaware, missing this critical field of security can be a terrible mistake. Only a round 10% of organisations that do not have a disaster recovery plan survive a significant systems failure or data breach.

The Elements Of Disaster Recovery – RPO & RTO

Your RTO and RPO requirements are the most critical functional elements of a working disaster recovery plan. RTO stands for Recovery Time Objective and refers to the amount of downtime that can be tolerated by your company in the event of a malfunction. RPO stands for Recovery Point Objective and sets the requirements for the overall target time in which data could be lost, basically your backup system’s upgrade frequency.

It is important to decide these factors ahead of time as they will inform a lot of the other choices you will make as part of your disaster recovery plans.

Why Disaster Recovery Is Important

For many companies, cybercrime has become a ‘when not if’ issue. But what you need to remember is that without an appropriate disaster recovery and business continuity plan, there are a whole host of extra threats out there that could cripple your business processes, cause downtime or loss of knowledge.

In addition to technological faults, cyber threats, extremism and natural disasters, it is wise to have an IT recovery plan that also accounts for the more mundane threats to a business, an employee accidentally wiping sensitive data or breaking your server. Failure to save a document properly or to save essential information can cause small to critical problems for a company. While normal, it is almost impossible to avoid these kinds of errors.

In addition to protecting the data and business applications in the event of a major disaster, a disaster recovery plan that includes frequent backups can establish a set of recovery points that will allow you to roll back your systems to a previous state.

What Disasters To Plan For

From a power cut to an asteroid strike, you could sit there for hours and still be coming up with ever-increasing worst-case-lothario. Consider which disaster you are most likely to face, this will vary depending on your business’s size, industry and location.

For example, if your business is based on low-lying flood land, you had better have a good plan for what to do in the event of a flood, but if you also have an office in Dubai, they probably don’t need to plan for a flood.

It can be a good idea to have a third-party disaster recovery services provider who can take an impartial look at your business, its networks, and its vulnerabilities. They will help you plan and test your disaster recovery preparations. They can also be called upon to help complete the disaster recovery plan should it ever be required.

The Costs Of Not Being Prepared

In addition to direct costs and sales losses, a quarter of organisations that experienced a failure reported workforce disruptions that disrupted business due to the need to refocus employee time to cope with the disaster.

Most significantly, the damage to your reputation that may occur in the event of data loss or substantial downtime is difficult to measure. Customers never forgive transgressions like this. Due to the always-on demands of digital commerce, even failure to provide sufficient online customer support in a moment of need can kill a cherished partnership.

Test Your Plan Regularly

Like a fire alarm a disaster recovery plan is only useful if it works when you really need it to. For this reason, you should regularly test elements of your disaster recovery plan to ensure that they function as expected and with the time frames determined by your RTO and RPO. Make sure that you test both software and hardware elements of your disaster recovery set up. If you are contracting disaster recovery services from a third party managed IT provider, you should make sure that regular tests are a part of the contract you have with them and they report back to you promptly with the results of these tests.

In Conclusion

We hope this has been a useful guide to the basics of disaster recovery. If you would like to find out more you should contact a local managed IT services provider who specialises in disaster recovery, or if you feel you have the technical skill required, start developing your own plan.