Cloud Computing

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan in IT?

Planning for human error, security attacks and network failures can save your business money, damage to your reputation and business down-time.

A Disaster Recovery Plan (also known as a DR Plan or DRP) details the steps a business should take to protect and recover their IT systems in case of an IT emergency.

An IT disaster can be caused by human error, a malicious cyber-attack, or catastrophic events such as a fire or flood. These incidents can be isolated to individual files or even wipe out a company’s entire IT infrastructure. 

How IT disaster can affect business

A classic example of an IT disaster is the Facebook outage in October 2021. Here the social network and its subsidiaries (Messenger, Instagram, What’s App) were unavailable for up to 7 hours. This was all because of a simple coding error made during maintenance. This incident cost Facebook an estimated $100 million in lost advertising sales, while its shares fell 5% cent clearing about $40 billion from its market value. 

A Disaster Recovery Plan prepares for the worst, giving you peace of mind that everyone in your business knows the best processes to restore critical data and systems, as quickly as possible. 

Key reasons why businesses need a disaster recovery plan:

  • Reduce downtime
  • Minimise data loss and liability
  • Limit costs of the interruption
  • Reduce damage to company reputation
  • Train employees with emergency procedures

Disaster Recovery planning isn’t just about having tools and knowing how to use them. It takes a structured approach to consider all sorts of scenarios.  

Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity

A lot of people use these terms interchangeably when they in fact they work together. 

Business continuity is preventative, it focuses on keeping a business operational during a crisis. This can include add extra levels of protection, such as cyber-security management

Disaster recovery is reactive, it focuses on restoring systems after the incident. For example, virtual back-ups of essential data for safe and rapid recovery. 

Here are the top line steps we use to create Disaster Recovery Plans for our customers:

Step 1: Assess the risks

Predict the potential threats and vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. Identify what Business Continuity measures you can put into place. Define specific operations, the relative value to your business and how a disaster would impact them.

Step 2: Inventory & Assets

List the physical and online systems critical to maintaining your business. This should also include critical assets such as financial reports, statements, and customer data. 

Step 3: Build a DR strategy

What needs to happen in response to the defined incidents or outages. This details a structure for immediate response procedures, damage limitation, rapid restoration and the full rebuild, including assessment. 

Step 4: Assign Responsibilities

Specific recovery procedures should be assigned to key personnel or a team, including secondary options if the key personnel are unavailable.  

Step 5: Management & Maintenance

Define key personnel or outsource an external team responsible for managing your IT and maintaining your key hardware and software. 

Step 6: Test & Review

Schedule regular tests, run through each step with the assigned team members so everyone is clear on their responsibilities and keep it up to date. 

Working with an Expert

Many businesses think that it will never happen to them and are unprepared. With the rising number of security threats, all businesses are at risk of IT disaster, no matter how big or small.

At Netcomm, we pride ourselves on supporting businesses with Disaster Recovery Planning. We have helped many businesses create tailored Disaster Recovery Plans, whilst putting all necessary cyber security and data back-up systems in place to protect their business.

We also support in-house IT teams with Disaster Recovery Planning as it can be beneficial to get IT support from an external team to thoroughly examine your systems and network design. 

If you are interested to see how we can help your business with a Disaster Recovery Plan, please take a look at our Disaster Recovery Services or simply get in touch by calling 01925 873 500 

Written by
Richard Barbera
Director
Netcomm Systems Ltd

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