Operational difficulties in an organisation can be due to multiple reasons. One of the main problems which they might face is the loss of their IT, i.e. their networks & servers. IT damage creates a lot of problems for organisations. It brings their operations to a standstill or at least slows down their processes. Therefore, they need to come up with a proper Disaster Recovery Plan to recover their losses.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
For this purpose, organisations need to create an Information Technology Disaster Recovery Plan. ITDR plan helps the companies by providing them with a structured approach for responding to an unexpected incident. These incidents can be a threat to an IT infrastructure and include hardware, software, networks, processes and people.
The key reasons for implementing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan is to protect your firm’s investment in its technology infrastructure. This also enables your firm to run the business efficiently and smoothly.
To avoid any losses, companies have to create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan taking into consideration a lot of things about the brand. But, how to create an efficient Disaster Recovery Plan?
A Complete Guide to Creating a DRP for your company:
1] Establish the scope of activity:
The team which is responsible for developing the plan should meet the internal technology team, network administrators and the application team. This is important to establish the scope of activity, e.g., Internal elements, third-party resources, external elements, and linkages to other offices/clients/vendors. One needs to make sure to brief the IT department’s senior management during these meetings so that they are well informed about everything.
2] Collect the necessary data:
You should collect all the relevant network infrastructure documents for the plan to work. This includes network diagrams, pieces of equipment, configurations and database.
3] Understand the threats and plan the safety procedures:
Get copies of the existing IT and network DR plans. If there is none, try to create one. Understand what the management thinks to be serious threats to the IT infrastructure. These can be – fire, human error, loss of power, system failure etc. Next, identify what, according to the management, are severe vulnerabilities to the infrastructure. Some of them can be mentioned, like, lack of backup power, out of date database copies, etc.
Once done, have a look at the history of outages, disruptions and also about how well the firm has been able to handle them. Identify the firm’s most critical assets, e.g., call centre, server farms, internet access. You also have to determine the maximum outage time the management will accept if the IT assets identified are unavailable. After doing all this, one needs to identify the operational procedures currently used to respond to critical outages. One also needs to determine when these procedures were conducted last time to validate their appropriateness.
4] Create and train Emergency Response Teams:
Then, you need to identify emergency response teams for all the critical IT infrastructure disruptions. You also need to determine their level of training with essential systems, especially in emergency conditions.
5] Check the credibility of the Vendor:
You then need to identify the vendor emergency response capabilities and check if they were ever used and worked correctly. You also need to check the amount that the company is paying for these services. The status of the service contract and the presence of a service level agreement also need to be taken care of, even if done in the past.
6] Compile the data into a GAP Analysis Report:
Then, the results from all the assessments need to be compiled together. This compilation is done in a gap analysis report which identifies the current actions vs what should be done. It also gives recommendations about how to achieve the required level of preparedness and an estimate of the required investments.
7] Get Approvals:
Submit the report to the management for review and their agreement on the recommended actions.
8] Create a Disaster Recovery Plan to address the most critical issues:
An IT Disaster Recovery plan or plans should be prepared to address critical IT systems and networks.
9] Test run the plans and system recovery:
To validate their operations, carry out tests of plans and system recovery.
10] Update the required changes in the Disaster Recovery Plan:
The next step is to update DR plan documents to reflect the changes. In any good Disaster Recovery Plan, a detailed inventory of the equipment in the infrastructure is found. A proper DRP provides with thorough and robust documentation. This step is super important as it helps new IT administrators to get a fair idea of the previous conditions. It helps in maintaining proper asset management.
11] Schedule the next review:
Finally, schedule the next review/audit for the newly made IT Disaster Recovery capabilities.
Creating an efficient Disaster Recovery Plan is a tedious task. But, if done appropriately, it is worth the hard work. This is because the plan keeps your business safe and functioning.
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