Organizations are often faced with risks of business disruption due to unexpected failures, natural disasters or targeted cyberattacks. Which is why they are often on the lookout for a proven business continuity solution. However, selecting a disaster recover solution that embeds security, privacy, as well as compliance into their business’ methodology isn’t easy. It needs a planned approach. Embee puts together a list of questions every business must evaluate before deploying their disaster recovery plan. They are:
- Do you know the vulnerabilities your business faces?
Businesses deploy a disaster recovery plan to solely optimize the time during which their organization Datacenter is not available. This usually happens during a natural calamity or a power failure. However, when creating a disaster recovery plan, it is important to evaluate and be aware of all other possible occasions likely to cause a disaster like effect. This will help you to focus on all vulnerabilities, make an even more robust plan and the holistic view will make the recovery process much smoother. Some other risk bearing scenario’s businesses face include data vulnerabilities such as database inconsistency, data leaks, and deployment failures and loss of skill that include unavailability of staff, that can seriously compromise business continuity plans.
- Are the critical data being backed? It is important to confirm what data the system is protecting. While every organization data is important one cannot argue the importance of information such as business documents, customer records, financial information, licenses and permits required for government agencies against HR records with employee data. Therefore, businesses must rank the importance of every available data set and prioritize accordingly. A business impact analysis (BIA) can help as it enables businesses to value each of their assets, attempts to relate every risk to the asset and calculates the business activity affected, the potential financial and operational loss and the minimum recovery time. Such a report helps to determine the level of protection each asset requires.
- Do you know the RTOs and RPOs of specific assets and applications?
Apart from revealing the critical business assets, a BIA also guides businesses with the Recover Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). The goal of RTO is to calculate how quickly an organization needs to restore which data, application and asset while the objective of RPO is to calculate the amount of data loss and downtime the business can withstand before collapsing. Thus, once you are aware of the RTOs and RPOs of the specific assets, data and application, you must review if your suggested disaster recovery plan is meeting the reported timelines.
- Is your DR plan shared with the team?
At the time of a real disaster the management is often overwhelmed with what is happening and unable to guide the team accordingly. Hence, while preparing the disaster recovery plan it must include a group of people who can take leadership roles during the catastrophe. All documents and details of all agencies and disaster recovery sites must be recorded.
- Have you tested your plan?
Irrespective of how detailed your disaster recovery plan appears or how many times it has been discussed with the team, it will hold no value if you are incapable of executing it efficiently at the time of a real disaster. Hence, DR administrators must conduct controlled disasters such as a power outage to guide the team on the process. Such an exercise also enables the team to analyze if the results of the plan were according to plan and make improvements wherever necessary. Simultaneously the team can evaluate all possible back up strategies for reference. This however should be executed without interrupting the daily operations.
- How will you communicate with your team during the recovery?
While majority service providers can revive the core business systems instantaneously or as reports suggest within the house, it can take several hours to completely recover the data. A CRN report suggests that an average outage lasts for 18.5 hours. In such situations, you must have an alternate plan to communicate with all stakeholders – employees, customers and partners.
The speed at which organization assets return to normal performance level determine how quickly the organization will return to normalcy. Thus, making the effort to evaluate the above questions will help you to invest in a robust enterprise back up solution and respond better to unforeseen circumstances.