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Support engineer recovering from a disaster

Four fundamental steps in defining your IT disaster recovery plan

16 September 2016

A company’s disaster recovery plan should be planned and built out by the entire organisation, not just IT. However, in the majority of situations, IT will most likely be involved to some extent. It’s therefore important that a business’s IT department has an IT disaster recovery plan in order to prevent downtime whenever possible. There are many disaster recovery templates available that organisations can utilise in order to map out their DR plans, but fundamentally speaking they all follow the four steps laid out below:

Map out all potential incidents

The first step of a new IT disaster recovery plan should always be to understand and map out all perceived threats and potential incidents to your network, data and IT assets. No matter how outlandish it sounds, anything that could legitimately affect your business continuity capabilities should be added at this step. Examples of common threats to your IT assets and data include employee misconduct, power outages, equipment breaking and cyber attacks. By understanding the threats your business could be facing, you can then work out how to proactively mitigate any such risks.

Work out your short term responses that could solve the problem temporarily

Once you have a list of potential disasters mapped out, your next objective should be to establish what your short-term backup solutions are, i.e. “quick fixes” that can resolve a problem temporarily whilst a more permanent fix can be made. This may be things such as failing over to a backup server when one stops working, or reverting back to a previous network “snapshot” in the case of data loss or malicious infection. These responses are designed to prevent or limit downtime as little as possible whilst the long-term recovery solutions highlighted in the next point are implemented.

Work out your long-term recovery strategy and action

Whilst being able to mitigate the risk of downtime with a short term response to a disaster, this shouldn’t be the final step of your IT disaster recovery plan. The short term response highlighted above isn’t sustainable long term, and it’s at this point that you need to understand what steps need to be in place in order to return your network back to its original state. An example of a recovery strategy for a server failure is as follows: verify the cause of the failure, acquire a new server, install and test the new server, and finally fail over from your backup server to your new server.

Understand areas where you don’t have a viable emergency management protocol in place

Accomplishing the first three steps outlined above should give you a good idea of what you need to do in order to be able to ensure business continuity in the event of disaster, no matter what it is. It’s at this point that your team needs to proceed with proactive recovery items outlined in the first three steps. This doesn’t necessarily need to be your IT team – outsourcing a project like this to an external IT support company such as Prodec Networks ensures that your IT disaster recovery plan is created to a high standard and managed effectively.

Remember – the whole point of your IT disaster recovery plan is to guarantee your data and IT assets can be restored to their original states when an incident occurs. In addition to the plan, your employees need to be trained to follow protocols lined out in your DR plan. It must also be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains relevant and up to date. One of the ways that this can be achieved is by outsourcing your IT disaster recovery planning as a managed service to an IT solutions provider like Prodec Networks.

Find out more about Prodec’s DR solutions and how they can help your business reduce the threat of data loss and downtime here.

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