6 Things to include in every disaster recovery plan

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In 2019, Baltimore City suffered a serious ransomware attack. A ransomware variant christened ‘Robinhood’ infected Baltimore Government’s information and computer systems, leading to data hijacks. All important public servers were denied access, with hackers demanding payment of almost $80,000 to restore access to critical infrastructure.

Cyberattacks continue to infiltrate even the most protected systems, leaving us with the question: what should we do in the event of an attack? This question lingers in the mind of every entrepreneur concerned with the safety of their business operations. Cyberattacks target exposed networks and exploit at-risk systems, seizing data and compromising critical infrastructure.

Cybercrime has far-reaching implications, ranging from failing critical systems to disrupting operational processes and routine workflows. In extreme cases, cybercrime can lead to the loss of sensitive personal data such as credit card information, social security numbers, SSNs, names, and addresses. There are serious consequences when protected information gets into the hands of cyber terrorists or cybercriminals.

That is precisely why cybersecurity is a priority for all modern enterprises. Securing your enterprise data and your customer’s information is not something to undervalue. Unfortunately, evidence shows that no measure is infallible. And cyberattacks and natural disasters can affect even the most robust and scalable installations.

Disaster Recovery Plan

That is why all enterprises must establish a disaster recovery plan to prepare for the worst-case scenario. But what exactly is a disaster recovery plan? A disaster recovery plan is a set of procedures, practices, and strategies outlining steps you’ll take after a disaster. A disaster recovery plan gives you leeway in case of foreseen or unforeseen incidents: physical damage, natural disasters, accidents, and attacks.

Components to Include in Your Disaster Recovery Plan:

There are six components to include in a disaster recovery plan. These components will guide you through disasters (attacks and calamities) and allow enterprises to embrace business continuity after an incident. Below we look at six things every disaster recovery plan should include:

1 IT Inventory

You’ll first need to identify and map out all assets to determine and prioritize which ones need more protection. Some common IT assets include:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Network equipment
  • Data assets
  • Files
  • Resources

Although tiresome and time-consuming, developing a list of IT assets will provide a holistic understanding of your enterprise’s digital and IT systems. This robust understanding will allow you to know which tools are accessible during an incident attack. It’s advisable to update your Inventory through additions, removals, and modifications of critical assets.

2 Scope of the Plan

Many threats could affect your enterprise, and many measures can protect your systems against attacks. Your disaster recovery plan must explicitly detail the scope of activities, tasks, and practices your team will use to avert potential incidents. Ask yourself: does my disaster plan outline what people should do in case of a cyber threat? If anything, your disaster recovery plan must define the scope of natural disasters and cyber-attacks.

3 Roles and Responsibilities

Organizational employees have a critical role to play during a disaster recovery process. Administrative processes are being modified to accommodate new cyber requirements. For instance, organizations are already giving system control and permissions to personnel. Access control as an administration function demands clearly defined roles and responsibilities, especially for personnel assigned to critical infrastructures.

Your organization must have a designated disaster recovery team. This team must be acquainted with documented and scientifically-backed disaster recovery methodologies. The roles and responsibilities of the recovery team should not only address what personnel should do during a disaster but also before.

These roles include:

  • Ensuring that more than one person has access to a secured platform like a server or a database. Assigning multiple access permissions to avoid inconveniences when one personnel is not available.
  • Ensuring that more than two people know how to perform a certain task to ensure operational workflow when one of these personnel is unavailable.
  • Ensuring that your workforce has alternative ways (like manual ways) to do things so that when hardware or software fails, operations won’t stall. Having alternative models of accomplishing tasks will prevent costly delays caused by operational breakdowns.
  • Training all personnel so that they know what to do during an incident. Adequate training can reduce the implications of attacks, especially if your organization operates in a high-risk environment.

Always define personnel roles and responsibilities before an incident to ensure proper administrative practices during an attack or a natural disaster. These roles will help you know which personnel are responsible for specific functions. Roles may even pinpoint loopholes in disaster recovery efforts.

4 Critical Business Functions (CBFs)

The disaster recovery plan must define your critical business operations. These are operations that most affect your business outcomes. Critical functions may include: invoicing, billing, and payments. First, identify these operations to determine the measures you’ll adopt during recovery. In addition, determine how long you can last without these business operations before experiencing losses. Having an inventory of mission-critical operations will provide insight into disaster recovery.

5 Practices, Processes, and Procedures

Identify the strategies you will use to wade off the storm and survive a disaster. Now that you have an accurate account of mission-critical business activities – design your recovery strategies based on your critical functions.

Document the following in each business function:

  • Recovery or preventative actions to restore the business continuity plan
  • Equipment and resources to facilitate restoration
  • Recovery time to know how long it will take to recover
  • Responsibility which means identifying persons responsible for disaster recovery

Documenting recovery procedures and practices helps you quickly recover during incidents – saving time; and money and restoring customer confidence and trust.

6 Communication Plan

During a disaster, the last thing you might want to do is address all the affected parties: customers, investors, employees, and the media. Having a communication plan is key to showing you’re in control during and after a disaster. Communicating to all stakeholders and reiterating recovery plans is critical in disaster recovery. In addition, remember that effective communication doesn’t imply talking to everyone in time. Effective communication means knowing the necessary communication chain and reporting structure and conveying only the relevant recovery information.

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Edafio Technology is a leading technology provider specializing in managed services: cloud computing and cybersecurity. At Edafio, we believe that most incidents are unavoidable, and businesses need to remain braced for potential disasters. We reinforce our commitment to safeguarding businesses from cyber-attacks to ensure disaster recovery and business continuity through our excellent managed solutions.

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