Disaster recovery services protect businesses from sudden adverse events.
Suppose a natural disaster strikes. Or you suffer a cyber attack. Disaster recovery services exist to mitigate the impact, allowing you to resume operations with minimal downtime. These type of IT services span planning, testing, and enacting a recovery plan.
They may even require you to create a separate physical back-up site to ensure you can always restore your business, no matter what happens. After all, every business needs a back-up — to help you create yours, here are the ten elements every disaster recovery plan should include.
10 Elements Of Every Disaster Recovery Plan
The precise shape of your plan will depend on your business and your industry.
Both compliance and expectations vary depending on these aspects. That said, there’s a general outline that every plan should follow — make sure yours includes the following points
- Overview: a policy statement, a high-level plan, and the primary objectives.
- Contact details: of the key personnel and those in charge of the plan.
- Actions: a description of who does what in the event of an incident.
- Network diagram: detailing your IT network and the recovery site.
- Directions: enabling people to locate the recovery site.
- Software list: highlighting the systems to use in the recovery.
- Key documents: like technical specifications from vendors.
- External damage control: with tips on PR and media communications.
- Financial plan: ensuring you stay on top of financial and legal obligations.
- Template forms: minimizing the effort in documenting the recovery process.
Provided you have the above in place: you can be relatively confident your business can weather any storm. Just remember: your plan isn’t a ‘write-once-and-forget’ document. It’s a living being that must undergo frequent reviews and updates. If your business shrinks, grows, moves location, or acquires another company: update your plan immediately.
That way, you’ll know it’s always on-point.
How To Develop A Disaster Recovery Plan
The team charged with developing your plan should follow strict protocols in drawing the information together.
Disaster recovery companies typically recommend taking the following actions. First, your technology and network admins must discuss the scope of the plan and, once they’ve collated relevant materials and have agreed on the content, present an overview to management.
Once the overview is signed off, the experts can dig into the most significant threats to the company infrastructure. This process includes reviewing historical issues, outages, and disruptions, alongside how the business responded. From here, you can determine the most critical IT assets and assess the maximum sustainable outage time, using this detail to work out the capabilities needed on your response team.
With a final plan and team in place, it’s time to resubmit the details to management: assuming everyone is happy, test the process, optimizing if necessary.
Then, take a moment to schedule your first review.
What Is A Disaster Recovery Site?
We mentioned a ‘disaster recovery site’ earlier in this article. If the phrase left you scratching your head, here’s the section for you.
A disaster recovery site lets businesses recover and restore their technology when the primary data center is rendered inoperable or inaccessible. The facility can be located on-site or elsewhere; the choice largely depends on your budget.
Internal sites require more hardware, configuration, ongoing IT services support, power, and personnel, with the extra expenses making internal sites less attractive to smaller businesses. But if your organization is bigger, you might welcome oversight of the recovery process.
If you prefer to outsource the facility, you can choose between a hot, warm, or cold site — here’s how each one looks:
- Hot site: a fully operational and immediately accessible back-up, including hardware, software, staff, and all customer data.
- Warm site: an operational back-up with all the above except for customer data, meaning you’ll need to take steps to restart your business following an incident.
- Cold site: the infrastructure required to support a business, but with dormant technology that only boots when a disaster recovery plan kicks in and the recovery team has installed the necessary equipment.
Cloud recovery is also an option. And businesses often prefer cloud-based services as they are cheaper, scalable, and require fewer resources.
However, bandwidth and security are two aspects that put some people off storing their back-up in the cloud. When choosing your disaster recovery site, the most important considerations are how close you want it, how much you’re willing to spend on additional resources.
Or whether you can rely on a third-party to deliver the goods.
7 Tiers Of Disaster Recovery
If you ever talk about disaster recovery with an IT services company, you may hear them mention different recovery tiers.
Industry specialists worked with IBM in the ‘80s to describe ‘recoverability levels’ ranging from Tier 0 (meaning minimal levels of off-site recoverability) to Tier 6 (representing the highest coverage).
Here’s a breakdown of the meanings:
- Tier 0: no off-site data — recovery only possible via on-site systems.
- Tier 1: cold site with physical back-up — requires data to be taken to an off-site facility that will need the necessary hardware installed.
- Tier 2: hot site with physical back-up — requires data to be taken to an off-site facility with some critical support systems in situ.
- Tier 3: data transmits electronically to a hot site.
- Tier 4: vital data actively copies to a secondary facility, with both the primary and secondary locations backing each other up.
- Tier 5: data continuously transmits between a primary and secondary site.
- Tier 6: a second site mirrors or replicates the primary site, enabling near-instant disaster recovery and next-to-no data loss.
An eighth tier (‘Tier 7,’ confusingly) accounts for automation. It’s the highest level of disaster recovery available today — but as with anything: as you climb the ladder, the costs rise as well.
While you may not need disaster recovery, you might want general IT services. If so, get in touch with Mid-coast Tech on 207-223-7594.
We’d love to chat through your requirements.