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Disaster Recovery Plan Challenges: Avoiding Pitfalls

Avoid common pitfalls so your organization is prepared for any disruptions.

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Large volumes of mission-critical data are produced and managed by organizations of all sizes. The effects of data loss or corruption due to human mistakes, technical malfunctions, viruses, hacking, or other emergency crises or catastrophes can be severe.

The process by which an organization regains function of and access to its information technology (IT) infrastructure following a natural catastrophe, cyberattack, or business interruptions (such as those brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic) is known as disaster recovery. Disaster recovery is a component of business continuity. A disaster recovery plan can include a variety of disaster recovery strategies.

What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

An organization’s disaster recovery plan outlines in great detail how to deal with potential emergencies, including cyberattacks, power outages, natural disasters, and other disruptions. For an organization to continue normal operations and/or swiftly restart critical functions, the plan outlines actions to reduce the consequences of a catastrophe.

In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, numerous businesses needed to accommodate staff who worked remotely. Corporations have been compelled to reconsider their business continuity and disaster recovery policies because of the disease outbreak and ensuing worldwide crisis. With a pandemic raging, even a small network failure can have a huge impact on a company.

Disruptions can result in lost sales, harm to a firm’s reputation, and/or dissatisfied clients. The longer it takes to recover, the more detrimental the effect is to the organization’s bottom line. Therefore, regardless of the cause of the interruption, a disaster recovery plan needs to facilitate rapid recovery.

Why Is a Disaster Recovery Plan Important?

Enterprise multicloud models are on the increase due to the pressing need to improve business results and customer experience. But this approach to data storage can potentially increase infrastructure complexity and pose hazards that can only be managed with professional knowledge and equipment.

Because of the complexity inherent in a multicloud infrastructure, businesses often experience outages and system failures, as well as cyberattacks, a lack of expertise, and supplier failures. A multicloud framework can make outages or unexpected downtime more disruptive to business.

A disaster recovery plan that accounts for specialized skills, an integrated strategy, and cutting-edge technology—such as the orchestration of data recovery and protection—is needed to provide resilience in a multicloud environment. To manage business continuity risks in this type of storage setup, organizations must turn to orchestration technology that allows them to meet digital transformation objectives.

Other important reasons a company should acquire a proven disaster recovery strategy are as follows:

  • To reduce disruptions to regular business activities
  • To minimize the amount of business harm and interruption
  • To reduce a disruption’s financial impact
  • To plan and create alternative ways of operating
  • To instruct staff members on emergency protocols
  • To ensure a seamless and quick return of services

Organizations must be able to restore important systems within minutes, if not seconds, following an interruption if they’re to match today’s expectations for continuous commercial operations.

Benefits of Disaster Recovery Planning

A disaster recovery plan must include scenarios for minimizing disruptions and quickly restarting business activities. It should be created to avoid data loss and provide adequate IT recovery, since it’s a key component of a business continuity plan.

Beyond the obvious advantage of enabling business continuity under any circumstances, having a solid disaster recovery plan can assist an organization in several other crucial ways:

Cost-Efficiency

Disaster recovery plans incorporate elements that boost economies of scale. Three plan components—prevention, detection, and correction—are the most critical ones. Hazards from human error or intent are decreased with the help of preventative efforts. When issues become apparent, detection procedures work to catch them as soon as possible, and remedial steps recover lost data and allow for a rapid return to regular operations.

Cost-efficiency objectives can be achieved by keeping IT systems in top shape, in-depth studying of possible risks, and using best-practice cybersecurity solutions. It’s more efficient and less expensive to keep systems well-maintained and software updated. The maintenance and backup costs can be much lower if cloud-based data management is part of an organization’s disaster recovery planning.

Minimize Long-Term Damage

Disaster recovery processes, which are separate from backup procedures, should include information on all emergency responses, such as last-minute backups, mitigation techniques, damage limitation, and cybersecurity threat elimination.

Customer Loyalty and Retention

If there’s a loss of sensitive data, customers are less likely to be understanding of errors or downtime. Disaster recovery planning enables businesses to consistently provide higher-than-expected levels of service. By lowering the risks of downtime and data loss for your clients, you can deliver superior service during and after an emergency, thereby boosting client loyalty. 

Flexibility and Scalability

Planning for disaster recovery enables companies to find innovative ways to reduce the expenses of backups, archive maintenance, and recovery. The process is simpler and better with the flexibility and scalability that comes with cloud-based technologies and data storage.

By simplifying the entire IT process and removing unnecessary gear, disaster recovery planning helps lower the risk of human mistakes. This streamlines operations and makes an organization more profitable and robust, even before anything goes wrong, thereby turning the preparation process into one of the many benefits of disaster recovery planning.

Disaster Recovery Plan Challenges and How to Succeed Despite Them

Many businesses find it difficult to adapt disaster recovery plan tactics fast enough to handle the current mixed IT infrastructures and intricate business processes. Depending on how fast a company can recover from a crisis and restore critical business services in a 24/7, always-on environment, it may be able to gain a competitive edge—or lose market share.

Some businesses meet their demands for assessments, planning and design, implementation, testing, and comprehensive program management by using external business continuity and disaster recovery consulting services.

Proactive services are available to assist firms in overcoming interruptions with adaptable, affordable IT disaster recovery solutions.

With the rise in cyberattacks, businesses are switching from a manual, conventional recovery approach to one that’s automated and software defined. For quick recovery during an IT failure, some businesses use cloud-based backup services that continuously replicate crucial applications, infrastructure, data, and systems. To secure crucial servers in real-time, virtual server options are available. These help applications to recover quickly, keeping your company running during maintenance windows or unplanned outages. 

Resiliency orchestration is a cloud-based strategy designed for hybrid IT setups and disaster recovery automation. It helps many organizations protect their business processes, including applications, data, and infrastructure. This solution provides businesses with important information from a single dashboard about recovery time objectives (RTO), recovery point objectives (RPO), and the overall state of IT continuity, enhancing the availability of business applications.

In the always-on world, your company can’t afford downtime that can result in reputation harm, legal repercussions, and revenue loss.

Major Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan

The quantity of IT and data infrastructure lost to disasters is rising as businesses increasingly depend on technology and electronic information for day-to-day operations. According to industry calculations, disasters, lack of preparation, and lost productivity cost organizations hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Disaster preparedness must therefore be a priority for your organization.

Making and putting into action a disaster recovery plan is one method your business can use to prepare and safeguard itself against emergencies. Any type of crisis should be covered by an organization’s disaster recovery plan. The plan must be simple to implement and comprehend, and be tailored to the specific requirements of the firm. The following are typical components of a disaster recovery plan:

1. Form a team for disaster recovery.

The disaster recovery plan is created, put into action, and maintained by the team. A disaster recovery plan should detail the team members, describe their duties, and list their contact information. Who should be notified in the event of a catastrophe or emergency should also be listed. Every employee needs to be aware of the disaster recovery plan, understand it, and know what to do during a crisis.

2. Recognize and evaluate emergency risks.

The potential hazards to your company should be determined and evaluated by your disaster recovery team. Risks pertaining to human-sourced catastrophes, technological accidents, and natural disasters should be outlined. This will help the team identify the resources and recovery techniques needed to recover from crises within a set and reasonable period.

3. Identify essential programs, files, and resources.

To decide which business processes are essential to a firm’s operations, an organization must examine them all. Instead of concentrating on a long-term solution to restore the company’s full operational capabilities, the strategy should concentrate on short-term viability, such as resuming cash flows and revenues. The company must understand that certain operations shouldn’t—if possible—be postponed. Payroll processing is one example of a critical operation.

4. Specify offsite storage and backup protocols.

Certain protocols need to specify what needs to be backed up, who should do it, how to do it, where to do it, and how often. Backing up all essential software, hardware, and documents is advised. An organization’s most recent financial statements, an up-to-date list of personnel and related contact information, inventory records, tax returns, and client and vendor lists are all documents you should focus on backing up. A copy of the disaster recovery plan and other essential items needed for day-to-day operations, such as checks and purchase orders, should be kept offsite.

5. Test the disaster recovery plan and keep it up to date.

Because the dangers of crises and catastrophes are ever-changing, disaster recovery planning is a continuous process. It’s advised that a company regularly tests its disaster recovery plan to assess the suitability and efficacy of the outlined processes. To account for adjustments made to business procedures, technological advancements, and new emerging risks, your recovery team should update your organization’s disaster recovery plan on a regular basis.

To summarize, a company needs to establish a recovery team to construct a disaster recovery plan that identifies and evaluates emergency risks, identifies essential business applications, and specifies backup processes. Depending on the company, the plan may also incorporate other processes. The disaster recovery plan must subsequently be put into practice by the organization and recovery team, who need to also adhere to the plan’s guidelines. To prepare the company for a constantly changing threat landscape, the disaster recovery plan should be tested and maintained regularly.

Disaster Recovery Plan Steps

Both safe cloud-based disaster recovery and offsite data backups should be part of your disaster recovery plan.

Along with detailing a strategy for customer communications, locations where staff will gather, and actions you can take to increase security while minimizing risk, your plan should include the following measures:

1. Identify of critical business operations

Conduct a business impact analysis to determine which company processes are so essential that their disruption would limit your capacity to function effectively.

This may be determined by:

  • The type of goods and services you provide to clients
  • How far your company needs to operate from its main location

You can improve your cybersecurity strategy by gaining better control over vulnerabilities, whether they are specific to your company or industry, and making the necessary adjustments.

Meetings with company officials who can assist in determining what hazards might impair departmental operations may be necessary as part of this approach.

2. Consider potential disaster scenarios

Consider several disaster scenarios and the effects they could have on your company. For instance, what might you do if a natural calamity forced you to transfer your business to another location? What could happen if a hacker demanded a ransom for your files?

A disaster recovery strategy that supposedly fits all circumstances may not always be effective. Different procedures are required when your site sustains damage from a fire or other natural catastrophe, as compared to when you find a dissatisfied employee who may have compromised the company’s security. Establish proper processes for each crisis scenario by working with the department heads in your organization.

3. Make a communication plan

No matter what sort of crisis strikes, maintaining business continuity requires a communication plan.

Assign well-defined responsibilities to specific people. For instance, if a fire destroys a building, it may be the maintenance supervisor’s duty to alert the CEO, who will then start a chain reaction of sending messages to staff members.

Create a plan for informing your clients of any closure or relocation of the company, so they know what’s occurred and how to contact you. Make sure someone is designated to handle social media communication and watch for consumer inquiries if phone systems are hacked.

In the event of a data breach, your communication plan should also include necessary regulatory communications as well as public relations messaging to reassure shareholders and clients about security measures you’re taking. It should also have the emergency phone numbers for the members of your organization’s team who will assist you in recovery.

4. Create a data recovery and backup plan

Every organization that wants to continue operating needs a plan in place for disasters of all sizes, whether they include a small issue (such as a server failure or an employee deleting important data) or a serious one that could endanger your company’s continued operation. While entirely preventing security breaches is an optimal scenario, in most cases, this is an unrealistic expectation.

You must therefore put a strategy in place to resolve crisis scenarios and reduce further harm. A solid response strategy includes a group of IT specialists who are committed to resolving an issue, keeping an eye out for any intrusions, and managing associated data breaches.

5. Check your strategy

Test your disaster recovery plan once you’ve created it. Conduct an exercise simulating a natural disaster or a security breach to evaluate how your staff follows the plan and if the strategy is successful.

If you find holes in your plan—security gaps, communication issues, or other problems—add more stages to strengthen it.

Lyve Cloud: The Right Rescue Data Discovery Service for Your Business

Learn how Seagate can help you automate IT recovery management to streamline disaster recovery processes, improve workflow effectiveness, lower risk, save costs, and shorten system testing times. Lyve™ Cloud from Seagate offers a simple, dependable, and efficient cloud backup storage alternative. Since there are no fees for API calls or egress, Lyve Cloud’s clear pricing allows endless scalability without breaking your budget. Users are only charged for storage they actually use for a period of time.

Lyve Cloud is fully S3 compatible and functions with most common backup software. All the saved data is entirely encrypted by Lyve Cloud—both at rest and in transit. Due to the availability of data across several regions, it’s always accessible and available without any delays. Lyve Cloud’s air gapping, ransomware protection, and object immutability make it the smart choice for organizational disaster recovery, backup, and data restoration.