The editors at Solutions Review compiled this list of the best disaster recovery practices to consider implementing at your organization.
The Computer Security Resource Center (CSRC) defines a disaster recovery plan (DRP) as a “written plan for processing critical applications in the event of a major hardware or software failure or destruction of facilities.” Typically, the plan features a management policy and procedures to guide an enterprise’s response to a major disruption of its capability or damage to its facilities. We recommend consulting one of these free disaster recovery plan templates.
The main benefit of disaster recovery planning is to ensure business continuity, regardless of the circumstances. A good plan should include multiple components and practices that reduce the risk of man-made disasters. It should also feature detective measures aimed at quickly identifying unwanted events and corrective procedures that restore data and allow business processes to resume. Disaster recovery planning usually means greater customer retention and increased employee productivity by enabling businesses to maintain a high service quality regardless of the situation.
With these things in mind, our editors assembled this list of key disaster recovery best practices to consider when formulating your plan. We also included some additional resources below the fold, to help you make the process an easier one.
Key Disaster Recovery Best Practices:
Given that disaster recovery planning helps enterprises resume work after the loss of data or IT equipment with minimum business disruption, it is vital to understand the best practices involved in creating and implementing one:
Develop the Plan with a Team of Experts
Needless to say, developing an effective disaster recovery plan is not a one-person job. Instead, the process involves input from various internal and external stakeholders. For instance, you need domain experts with in-depth knowledge of all hardware, software, data, and network connectivity as part of the team. It is also significant to involve individual department heads and senior management in making policy-level decisions.
Identify the Necessary Infrastructure
Identify critical software applications, hardware, and data required to run a data recovery plan. For instance, standardized hardware can replicate and reimage new hardware. Ready.gov recommends that companies should avail program software to enable reinstallation or replacement equipment.
Document and Maintain an Easily Accessible Disaster Recovery Playbook
An organization’s disaster recovery plan is meant for multiple users at different business levels and roles. For that reason, enterprises must develop planning documents in a clear and concise language understood by all stakeholders. Not only that, the tested and approved disaster recovery playbook, either in hard or soft copy, must be stored in a readily accessible location.
Evaluate and Iterate the Disaster Recovery Process
Any good disaster recovery plan is defined by how well-tested it is, and an untested plan leads to a misleading impression of security. Like every testing job, organizations must carry out disaster recovery plan testing at regular, scheduled intervals. Also, as business requirements change and industry regulations evolve, the testing can point out areas that need to change. That being the case, and taking into account the magnitude of such a process, it is absolutely essential to include testing evaluation and iteration in your budgeting.
A successful testing activity must result in a comprehensive report detailing the type of tests carried out, testing frequency, procedures followed, and success factors. Talking of testing types, there are multiple ways of examining your plan. For instance, you can conduct a walk-through test that involves reading through the plan’s playbook with stakeholders. Alternatively, an enterprise can perform a simulation test by simulating a disaster to test how well the plan performs. Finally, a full interruption test that assumes the production system is completely down can be deployed in other cases. For success factors, companies can identify details, knowledge, skill, trait, value, and motives that help evaluate how an existing testing process functions.
Involve Your Employees and Processes
Disaster recovery planning is not just about information and technology. Beyond software and hardware, it involves people and processes. Organizations should therefore keep all concerned people in the loop. One way of doing that is to make disaster recovery test and drill part of the company culture. Also, they should conduct frequent employee awareness and training.
Implement Security and Data Protection Solutions Relevant to the Plan
Enterprises must implement necessary security solutions to curtail the impacts of denial of service and ransomware attacks. For instance, they can keep a copy of their data off-site that cannot be affected by the same type of disaster or breach.
What About Disaster Recovery Certifications?
Having the necessary data protection training and skills is vital to support your enterprise in backup and recovery. So too are professional certifications that can keep data management leaders at ease. Today, individuals can acquire essential and fundamental skills in disaster recovery to help their organizations develop plans, procedures, and recovery processes. Obviously, disaster recovery certification demonstrates your determination to achieve competence in the field.
Organizations like PECB offer Certified Disaster Recovery training courses. For instance, PECB’s Disaster Recovery Foundation training lets you learn the basic components to implement DRP. After completing the course, you can take an exam and apply for the PECB Certified Disaster Recovery credential. Apart from PECB, the EC-Council Disaster Recovery Professional certification educates and validates a candidate’s ability to plan, strategize, implement, and maintain business continuity and disaster recovery plan. The ISO 22301 Certified Business Continuity Manager (CBCM) credential from Certified Information Security (CIS) certifies your competence according to the ISO BCM standard as well.
Disaster Recovery Solutions
Various data protection solutions exist, not only for traditional enterprise backup and recovery but SaaS disaster recovery tools for cloud-based environments.
A solution like Acronis offers backup, disaster recovery, and secure file sync and share solutions through a single user interface, allowing you to safeguard data and systems in any environment. Actifio provides an enterprise-class SaaS backup and disaster recovery for Google Cloud and hybrid workloads while Altaro software offers an easy-to-use solution for Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware, and physical Windows server backup services.
IBM offers a single point of control and administration for backup and recovery to help enterprises manage and protect crucial information. There’s also Veeam, which is best for protecting virtual environments of varying sizes. Veeam also integrates with key de-duplication backup target appliances. Microsoft offers Azure Site Recovery as well, which lets you replicate your IT environment based on policies to protect physical services, Hyper-V, and VMware.
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