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Creating a detailed disaster recovery plan (DRP) can be a daunting and complicated task. Begin forming your plan by including the following five essential steps.
What is Data Recovery and Where Does It Fit in a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Anyone who's part of their organization’s IT team should be well aware by now that unexpected accidents, emergencies, and disasters can hit a company when its least expecting it. Unfortunately, such events can lead to the loss of valuable data. Data is often considered the most important asset of focus in a greater disaster recovery plan, and its recovery is often critical for business operations. Data recovery is when data that was somehow lost, corrupted, or otherwise inaccessible is restored to its previous location within a network, whether that be a computer, mobile device, storage device, or server.
Why is Data Recovery Necessary?
Generally speaking, while data is incredibly valuable in the eyes of organizations, it is also increasingly difficult to manage and can be highly sensitive. When sensitive data is lost or falls into the wrong hands, it can have negative (and expensive) implications for the organization and the person or people whose data was compromised. For example, if a financial organization like a bank were to lose access to their customers’ sensitive financial information, not only could the bank be hit with large compliance fines, but the bank’s customers could then be at risk of having their financial info fall into the wrong hands. Recovering access to data that has been stolen, lost, or otherwise compromised is essential in minimizing that damage as much as possible.
5 Essential Steps in Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Create a Layered Security Plan to Prevent a Disaster
Data recovery and a disaster recovery plan, in general, are meant to be reserved for unforeseen emergencies. Ideally, data loss of any kind should be a rare occurrence. Creating a layered data security plan can stop preventable data loss before it happens. In the event it does, to limit the damage, organizations should prioritize having a detailed disaster recovery plan in place.
Identify the Biggest Threats to Your Data
The cyber threat landscape is constantly growing and evolving, meaning organizations need to stay up to date on the latest threats. Threat research, intelligence, and mitigation solutions can help to prevent unwanted data leaks, reduce noise and false positives, and help organizations mitigate data loss if they do occur.
On the other end of the threat spectrum, though, organizations should also prepare for other types of unintentional disasters like power outages, natural disasters, building fires, and more that aren’t necessarily preventable. Regardless of whether data loss is caused by a bad actor with malicious intentions, like a targeted attack, or an event outside of anybody’s control, like a natural disaster, organizations need to concentrate on identifying the biggest threats to their data and quantifying the risk of each threat.
Identify Your Mission-Critical Data
Not all data is built the same, meaning that understanding your organization’s data is a critical component of creating the best possible recovery plan. More specifically, identifying and prioritizing the protection and recovery of your organization’s mission-critical data is of the utmost importance. Data classification solutions can help your organization identify the data that contains the most sensitive information. Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions can give your organization more visibility into where your data resides and how people are interacting with it.
Define Your Recovery Objectives and Goals
Identifying your organization’s crown jewels and in turn, organizing the rest of your data by its importance can allow you to calculate your recovery point objectives (RPO). RPOs are essentially the maximum amount of data your organization can afford to lose in the wake of a disaster, along with your recovery time objectives (RTO), which is the maximum amount of system downtime your organization can afford. In other words, by organizing and prioritizing your data by its impact on business operations, you can better understand how often data backups should take place and how long it should take to restore operations.
Draft, Test, and Update Your Disaster Recovery Plan
An organization’s data is only one component of its IT systems. In reality, functioning systems also require working hardware, properly running software applications, internet connectivity, and the proper environmental conditions for hardware to run. The scope of a disaster recovery plan should go far beyond the recovery of data alone. The best disaster recovery plans are regularly re-drafted, amended, and tested by recovery teams. Similar to an organization’s data policies and security solutions, a disaster recovery plan should be flexible enough to evolve with your organization.
Ultimately, creating a detailed, comprehensive disaster recovery plan will help your organization to be as prepared and proactive as possible in the wake of any attack, disaster, data breach, or any other worst-possible outcome and return to normal operations as quickly as possible. Perhaps just as importantly, though, a comprehensive disaster recovery plan will help keep your sensitive data safe against even the most dangerous of threats.