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Restorepoint + SL1: Mitigating Network Risks to Achieve Highly Resilient Business ServicesDec 14 | 1 pm ET
What is disaster recovery?
Disaster recovery is an organization’s ability to respond to and recover from an event that negatively affects business operations. In preparation for these types of events, organizations perform a granular analysis of their systems and create a formal document to follow in times of crisis, and that document is known as a disaster recovery plan.
What is a disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a formal document created by an organization that contains detailed instructions on how to respond to unplanned incidents including natural disasters, power outages, cyber-attacks, and any other disruptive events. The plan contains strategies for minimizing the effects of a disaster, helping an organization to quickly resume key operations or continue to operate.
How does disaster recovery work?
Disaster recovery relies upon the replication of data and computer processing in an off-premises location not affected by the disaster. When servers go down because of a natural disaster, equipment failure, or cyber-attack, a business needs to recover lost data from a second location where the data is backed up.
Elements of an effective disaster recovery plan should include:
- Disaster recovery team: The disaster recovery plan needs to include all the people necessary to get systems operational after an event, spell out their responsibilities in that situation, and list their contact information.
- Risk assessment and evaluation: This gives you the ability to model some of the most common possible threats, and understand what is most likely to trip up your organization while letting you know how quickly stakeholders would expect you to be up and running after a catastrophe.
- Business-critical asset identification: Establish in advance what needs to be up and running immediately and what can wait.
- Backup: Anything that is mission-critical needs to be backed up regularly, and a copy of the disaster recovery plan should be stored safely off-site.
- Testing and optimization: Regular testing and drills need to be a part of any effective disaster recovery plan.
What are the different types of disaster recovery?
Businesses can choose from a variety of disaster recovery methods or combine several to form a more customized plan.
Different types of disaster recovery plans:
- Backup: This is the simplest type of disaster recovery and entails storing data off-site or on a removable drive.
- Cold site: In this type of disaster recovery, an organization sets up basic infrastructure in a second, rarely used facility that provides a place for employees to work after a natural disaster or fire. It can help with business continuity because business operations can continue, but it does not provide a way to protect or recover important data, so a cold site must be combined with other methods of disaster recovery.
- Hot site: A hot site always maintains up-to-date copies of data. These types of sites are time-consuming to set up and more expensive than cold sites but drastically reduce downtime.
- Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS): In the event of a disaster or ransomware attack, a DRaaS provider moves an organization’s computer processing to its own cloud infrastructure, allowing a business to continue operations seamlessly from the vendor’s location, even if an organization’s servers are down.
- Data center disaster recovery: The physical elements of a data center can protect data and contribute to faster disaster recovery in certain types of disasters. A backup power source will help businesses sail through power outages without grinding operations to a halt. Of course, none of these physical disaster recovery tools will help in the event of a cyber attack.
- Virtualization: Organizations can back up certain operations and data or even a working replica of an organization’s entire computing environment on off-site virtual machines that are unaffected by physical disasters. Using virtualization as part of a disaster recovery plan also allows businesses to automate some disaster recovery processes, bringing everything back online faster. For virtualization to be an effective disaster recovery tool, frequent transfer of data and workloads is essential, as is good communication within the IT team about how many virtual machines are operating within an organization.
- Point-in-time copies: This form of disaster recovery makes copies of the entire database at a given time. Data can be restored from this backup, but that is only if the copy is stored off-site or on a virtual machine unscathed by the disaster.
What are the benefits of creating a disaster recovery plan?
With the growth of digital operations, an IT disaster recovery plan is part of a larger business continuity plan meant to protect your organization. Spending time and money on an IT disaster recovery plan is becoming a best practice because how it can result in important savings when the plan is activated.
Here are some of the benefits of a disaster recovery plan solution:
- Cost savings: It’s important for businesses to have IT infrastructure that is reliable. That is because any interruption in IT infrastructure availability leads to some sort of revenue loss. In addition, planning for potentially disruptive events can be the difference between a company surviving a natural disaster or folding.
- Faster recovery: Depending on the disaster recovery strategy and the types of disaster recovery software used, businesses can get up and running much faster after a disaster, or even continue operations as if nothing had happened.
- Maintaining customer satisfaction: Re-acquiring customers and building trust with them post a disaster is very difficult; it’s far easier to invest in a DR plan.
- Building partner and supply chain confidence: Executing a well-defined disaster recovery plan helps build confidence within the partner network.
- The inevitability of machines failing: IT infrastructure has shown great improvement in terms of resiliency, but weak links persist. Having a solid disaster recovery plan is essential when unforeseen circumstances occur.