Disaster Recovery Planning- Why do businesses need a Disaster Recovery Plan and what does it involve?

What is a disaster recovery plan?

Disaster recovery is an organisation’s ability to restore access and normal functionality to its IT infrastructure after a disaster event, whether that be a natural disaster or caused by a human action or error. A disaster recovery plan outlines the tools, policies and processes used to recover critical IT infrastructure in the event that something does go wrong.

What is considered a disaster?

A disaster is an event that disrupts or completely stops a business from operating. Whilst many of us think of a disaster as a natural event like a flood or hurricane, it can also be an intentional attack or even human error. Examples of disasters include: 
• Natural Disasters (for example earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes, or wild fires) . 
• Cyber attacks (for example malware, DDoS, and ransomware attacks). 
• Machine and hardware failure. 
• Pandemics and epidemics. 
• Technological hazards (including power outages, transportation accidents and pipeline leaks and explosions). 
• Other intentional threats caused by humans such as terrorist attacks or biochemical attacks.
Image of a flooded office building

What is Disaster Recovery used for?

Disaster recovery planning is used to ensure that a business is back up and running as efficiently as possible after an incident. Disaster recovery planning aims to prevent data loss and maintain regulatory compliance alongside competitiveness and reputation. A well-executed disaster recovery plan also helps to ensure that a business can meet customer service level agreements even in the event of a disaster. 

The 3 elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan:

Preventative

This element of the disaster recovery plan is about ensuring that a business’ systems are as secure and reliable as possible. Environments may be continuously monitored for configuration errors and compliance violations, and critical data should be backed up frequently.

Detective

In order to efficiently restore systems and data in the event of a disaster, the disaster itself needs to be detected in real time.

Corrective

Corrective measures look at planning for potential scenarios in which disaster recovery would be necessary and involves putting procedures in place to ensure that data and systems can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster.

What makes an effective Disaster Recovery Plan?

Risk Assessment

A thorough risk assessment is the best way to begin a disaster recovery plan. This identifies the possible threats and vulnerabilities that a business may face and enables resources to be allocated accordingly.

A well-defined recovery objective

A recovery objective is the desired state of IT infrastructure after a disaster. You may come across the terms Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). RPO is the maximum acceptable amount of data loss after an unplanned data-loss incident, expressed as an amount of time. RTO is the maximum acceptable amount of time for restoring a network or application and regaining access to data after an unplanned disruption.

Prioritisation of critical data and systems

Your disaster recovery plan should identify and prioritise systems and data that are critical for day-to-day business operations. These should be the first thing to be restored in the event of a disaster in order to minimise disruption.

Regular updating and testing

IT systems, infrastructure and data is regularly changing, meaning that a business’ disaster recovery plan should be tested and updated regularly. Frequent testing should identify any areas for improvement within the plan, ensuring that in the event of a disaster systems and data is restored as efficiently as possible.

Backup strategies

An effective disaster recovery plan should outline plans for what should happen in the event that an unpredicted event occurs during the recovery process. There should be backup procedures in place in the event that the original recovery plan fails.

What are the benefits of an effective Disaster Recovery Plan?

Organisations that have a robust and well tested disaster recovery plan can minimise the impact of disruptions and achieve faster recovery times. An effective disaster recovery plan provides many benefits to a business including:

Business Continuity

When your business goes offline it can impact everything from productivity to customer experience and your business’ reputation. Disaster Recovery helps to safeguard critical operations by ensuring they can be recovered with minimal interruption.

Enhanced Security

Many of the components of a disaster recovery plan, such as data backup and other procedures, strengthen your security and limit the impact of attacks and other security risks.

Faster Recovery

Disaster recovery planning is all about minimising the disruption caused should a disaster occur. An effective disaster recovery plan should ensure that all systems and data are restored before there is a noticeable impact on productivity and service.

Reduced cost of recovery

Without a disaster recovery plan a business can experience extended periods of downtime in the event of a disaster. This can decrease productivity, impact customer service and lead to reduced revenue. According to Veeam’s 2022 Data Protection Report the average cost of downtime to businesses is $1467 a minute (around £1176). Having an effective disaster recovery plan keeps downtime to a minimum.

Compliance

Dependent on the nature of data that is lost or compromised, businesses can be fined or face other legal implications if they violate legal and regulatory requirements. A disaster recovery plan supports compliance by considering the potential risks and outlining procedures and ways to protect the data in the event of a disaster.

How can CloudConnX help with Disaster Recovery?

CloudConnX can assist your business with Disaster Recovery in a number of ways: 

Standby Connectivity- A fallback option in the event that your primary service is compromised. Options include:

• Broadband- a supplementary connection to your existing service. This can be either kept in a dormant state or used actively to carry some of your network traffic. For more information, see Full Fibre and FTTC. 
• Diverse leased lines - for organisations that require absolute continuity, it is possible to have a standby leased line connected to the premises via a different route in from the road. Options can include geographic diversity across different postcodes, towns, counties and even countries. For more information see: Leased Lines.
• 4/5G cellular – A good temporary stop gap for temporary breaks in connectivity, i.e. during routine maintenance or line faults. For more information see: Mobile Broadband.

Voice- Fallback options for the most critical of business services:

• Cloud based telephony – Resilient to premise based incidents, our cloud telephony services enable teams to work from anywhere while maintaining a professional image. For more information, see: 3CX 
• Call diversion – For traditional phone systems, we are able to provide rapid assistance by invoking call diversions to an alternative site or a mobile number. For more information see: SIP Trunks & Lines.

Data Storage- Resilient cloud based storage:

• Location and hardware agnostic, our cloud based storage services provide seamless access to critical files from a range of devices including mobile no matter where your team may be located. 
For more information see: HydraSync, Server Colocation and Server Hosting.

Data Backup & Recovery- Protection for critical data assets and systems:

• Continuous data backup both on premise and off site for critical data and systems 
• Immediate recovery of files 
• Options to fall back to our hosted platforms to get you back up and running quickly.
For more information see Best Backup Recall and Microsoft 365 Backups

Consultancy-

We offer strategic consultancy services for organisations looking to install or improve technology, phones and networks. If you would like support in putting Disaster Recovery solutions in place for your business get in touch. For more information see Strategic Consultancy Services.