What is a disaster recovery plan, and what is the difference between a disaster recovery plan (DRP) and a business continuity plan (BCP)? If your business ever suffers a data breach, you’ll want both plans in place and ready to implement. Breaches can impede business operations, turn public trust away from your company, and leave your data open for future breaches.
What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan contains three primary functions encompassing prevention, continuity, and recovery. But what is in a disaster recovery plan? A good DRP includes:
- Setting up a plan for recovery before a breach happens, including mirroring servers for essential systems, training personnel on how to manage a breach, and setting up and maintaining hot sites. These steps aim to minimize the impact of a breach and maximize recovery of the company.
- Creating rules for what critical systems must still work during a breach, including activating hot sites and managing essential business systems.
- Recovering operational status to the same levels as before the breach using system backups or pre-configured equipment deliveries to replace damaged or infected systems.
A data breach can knock your eCommerce site offline or require you to shut down your site or network to prevent further data losses. Without an active website or data network, your business can’t process transactions or store new data. A single breach event is enough to bankrupt 60% of businesses within six months.
Having a plan in place for breach mitigation and minimization to recover and get back to regular operations sooner is essential.
How Does a Disaster Recovery Plan Work?
The business continuation plan (BCP) is one part of the DRP. When developing a DRP for your business, you must review your operations and processes to determine key functions and systems. During your DRP assessment and
- Anticipate issues and weaknesses in your network and devices
- Protect key systems and functionality with hot sites, backups, and alternatives
- Analyze the implications of a breach to your operations, finances, and reputation
- Assess recovery requirements at different levels of compromise
- Plan to run on backup systems and perform a cost analysis of reduced functionality for prolonged periods
- Create contingency plans for immediate, short-term, and long-term needs before, during, and after a breach
What is a hot site in a disaster recovery plan? A hot site is a backup location from which you can run skeleton operations until restoring your data.
How Is a DRP Used in Industry?
The steps in your business’s DRP could vary drastically from a company’s DRP in another industry. You must determine which information is most important to protect according to the products and services your business offers.
For example, a financial institution’s primary concerns are protecting its clients’ personal information, protecting digital currency from theft, and restoring its clients’ funds if stolen during a breach. In medicine, patient privacy takes top priority in data breach recovery plans. Engineers need to protect intellectual property, designs and models, and project bids.
Depending on your industry, you may have several key functions you need to retain and recover during a breach.
What Are the Key Steps of a DRP?
The key steps in any DRP plan include:
- Setting goals for recovery time and recovery point, as well as any other recovery benchmarks.
- Determining who holds the responsibility for implementing the DRP.
- Creating an inventory of all hardware and software assets and whether they are owned, leased, or rented.
- Mapping backup locations and recording backup recovery instructions.
- Creating emergency responses to threats during a breach, including limiting damages, initiating backups, data loss mitigation, and threat eradication.
- Developing and maintaining hot sites to relocate operations while recovering from a breach.
- Creating a complete restoration plan, from total system loss to full recovery of operations.
How to Prepare and Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan
Now your question probably isn’t “what is a disaster recovery plan,” but “how do I create a DRP for my business?”. To create a DRP, you should:
- Inventory your assets
- Classify assets by how essential they are to your operations
- Perform a graded risk assessment
- Define your objectives in recovering from a breach
- Select what disaster recovery software and alternatives you can implement
- Analyze your budget for the best value between cost and recovery
- Get approval for your plan from the appropriate managers or executives
- Add your plan to the appropriate operations instructions and send it to the appropriate team members responsible for executing the DRP
- Test the plan to determine if it requires any alterations, and review the plan every six months to look for potential improvements
10 Things You Must Include in Your Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist
A DRP is only as effective as the information contained inside. Follow this checklist to ensure that you hit all necessary marks when developing your DRP:
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
- Inventory of hardware and software assets
- Critical personnel roles in executing the DRP
- Disaster recovery sites list, including hot sites, warm sites, and cold sites
- Remote storage for physical media and documents
- Processes for disaster response (mitigation and recovery)
- Identification and backups of sensitive data
- Communication plan for data breaches or other disasters
- Restoration needs for physical damage in a natural disaster or similar
- Testing measurements to determine the efficiency of the plan
A disaster recovery plan must include alternatives for several possible sources of interruptions, including data breaches, natural disasters, service interruptions, and other issues that could affect business operations.
Trust Succurri with All of Your Business IT Needs
So what is a disaster recovery plan? It’s your saving grace if your business is on the wrong end of a data breach or other disaster. For help developing a disaster recovery plan for your business technology and data in or around Seattle, WA, turn to our experts at Succurri. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an IT professional.