Customize Your Disaster Recovery Plan by Asking the Right Questions
There’s no such thing as a standardized disaster recovery plan. While it’s easy to find templates for a plan, the actual contents of the plan need to reflect the specifics of your IT infrastructure, your business’s ability to accept risk, and the IT team’s ability to respond to an outage.
In order to craft a plan that provides your business with the protection it needs, think about these questions:
1. Where are your systems and data located?
You need to know where the systems are—in the data center, on desktops, at vendors, in the cloud—in order to design appropriate recovery procedures. You may need to even take a step back and update your systems inventory to make sure you’ve identified all systems that potentially need recovery capability.
2. Which data and applications are critical?
You’ll want to focus spending and resources on protecting the data and systems the business needs to remain operational. This may mean, for instance, that HR systems that track employee training are lower priority than the email that everyone relies on to communicate.
3. How much risk can the business tolerate?
Risk tolerance will dictate how much budget you’re given to build DR capability and also determine the requirements of that capability. The risk tolerance shouldn’t be global, but individualized to each system, determining the recovery time objective and recovery point objective.
4. What regulations and contractual obligations do you have to meet?
You may be required to provide certain levels of service or to protect data using specific approaches to security. Your recovery plans need to satisfy these requirements.
5. How many people will participate in recovery procedures?
If you’ve got limited staff, and a disaster may reduce staff even further, you’ll want to automate your recovery process as much as possible. In addition, you should identify all participants needed to ensure successful recovery; this includes specifying which manager has the authority to invoke the disaster recovery process.
6. What kind of disaster are you planning for?
Disasters take many forms and impact the business at different levels. You may want different plans to handle small-scale outages such as a failed piece of hardware differently from failures that disable the entire organization such as a power outage.
7. How will you test your disaster recovery plan?
The script in your disaster recovery plan almost never matches the real disaster perfectly, but testing gives assurance that you’ve got a solid plan. If you don’t test your plan, you won’t know where it’s weak until a real disaster forces you to improvise a solution under stress.
Also consider one final question: Should you get help creating and implementing your disaster recovery plan? Prescient Solutions helps businesses in the Chicago and Schaumburg area create robust disaster recovery plans that help them get back online fast.