What You Need to Know About Computer Disaster Recovery

What You Need to Know About Computer Disaster Recovery

A disaster recovery plan is a structured approach, which is taken if an unplanned incident occurs that tends to threaten the infrastructure. Such a plan is developed beforehand to protect the infrastructure and allow the business to continue its operations in the event of a mishap.

Recovery plans in detail

A disaster recovery plan outlines a step-by-step process which has to be followed for recovering a disrupted machine, system or network, and help it restore normal operation. The prime goal of a recovery plan is to minimize any negative impact on core business operations. Generally, disaster recovery plans identify critical systems, prioritize recovery, and delineate these systems and networks so that they can be recovered and reconfigured. Comprehensive plans also mention relevant contacts, expertize sources and detailed action steps to ensure a smooth recovery.

A typical disaster recovery plan follows the following structure.

  • Develop contingency planning statement – A formal policy authorizes and guides the creation of an effective contingency plan.

  • Conduct BIA – BIA or Business Impact Analysis is a method which identifies critical components and systems, and assigns a priority rank to each of them.

  • Figure preventive controls – Preventive controls are measures which reduce system disruption and increase its availability. The overall goal is to reduce contingency costs. You should also come up with detective and corrective measures to detect disasters and restore a network after the occurrence, respectively.

  • Develop strategies – Detailed recovery strategies are developed, which can be followed if any system or component is disrupted. The strategy should specify the quickest recovery approach.

  • Develop contingency plan – A contingency plan specifies procedures which can be conducted for restoring damaged systems.

  • Plan testing and training – The developed plan is tested out so that gaps can be identified. Staff training is also provided so that they can follow the plan effectively. Both of these measures prepare a company to recover in a more effective and quicker way.

  • Plan maintenance – The plans should be regularly updated with the latest enhancements.

Important Considerations

The following considerations are important for an effective disaster recovery plan.

  • Get support from senior management – Obtain senior level approval prior to finalizing the plan.

  • Take the process seriously – Preparing a disaster recovery plan requires time and efforts. Data has to be gathered and analyzed, and a plan has to be built accordingly. Take the process seriously, and ensure the final plan contains all necessary components.

  • Ascertain that information is correct – A disaster recovery document doesn’t have to be long, but it must be up-to-date and accurate.

  • Use the available standards – When developing a recovery plan, you can use certain relevant standards such as ISO/IEC 24762, BS 25777 and NIST SP 800-34.

  • Review results with different units – Once the plan is complete, go over it various heads and business units, and ensure that all assumptions and details are correct. If any gaps are identified, revise the final until buy-in from all departments is obtained.

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