An IT disaster can bring your company to a screeching halt and incur serious bills that you’ll have to deal with quickly. When a disaster strikes, are you prepared? Creating a disaster recovery plan, or DRP, will ensure that your business is ready to respond fast when a disaster takes down your business. An effective disaster recovery plan will prepare you for data breaches, malware, system failures, natural disasters, and more.
Stage One: Immediate Response
As soon as you realize that there’s been an IT disaster, your response should begin. The initial step starts with isolating impacted systems, if possible, and assessing the damage that’s been done. Ask:
- What disaster are you facing?
- How has it impacted your systems?
- Does the disaster impact client or customer data? Is there confidential information that has been affected?
- How does the disaster have the potential to continue to impact your business?
Once you know what you’re dealing with, you’ll be better able to face the challenges and deal with it. In order to prepare for this phase of your plan, you’ll need to include the tools that will be used for analysis as well as the individuals who are responsible for using those tools. You will also need to indicate the roles who will be responsible for isolating the impacted system (or systems) in order to prevent further damage.
Stage Two: Respond
You know what’s hit your system, and you know how bad it has the potential to be. Responding fast will help you protect further data from compromise and ensure that your customers and your business are as protected as possible. During the response phase, you should:
- Clean up the impacted system
- Close security holes that are currently being used to access your information
- Move to a new location if necessary in order to continue recovery
- Recover information from data storage in order to get the company moving back to normal again as soon as possible
Your plan for response should include the disasters that are most likely to strike your company and what immediate response is necessary for your protection. You should also consider what backup methods you’ll use in order to protect vital information and keep your system moving smoothly. Your response plan should also include what you won’t do: for example, you should never pay the ransom asked by ransomware creators.
Stage Three: Recover
Once you’ve responded to the immediate threat and walled it off, you’ll need a plan for recovering function as soon as possible. The longer your business is down because of an IT disaster, the greater the greater the cost will be. Even partial functionality can decrease customer satisfaction. Your recovery plan should include:
- How you’ll restore information that wasn’t included in data backups (including whether or not this is a paper backup system or how you’ll deal with information that you no longer have)
- A timeline for recovery, including how long it should take to have your system back up and functioning normally
- Who will be responsible for carrying out recovery tasks and who will be in a position to deal with regular business tasks during the recovery process.
- Note that your business may not be able to afford to shut down completely due to a disaster.
- Designate members of your staff to take care of the problem while others handle normal functionality for your business.
Stage Four: Share
You’d rather keep a data breach to yourself. Unfortunately, it’s necessary to share that information with your customers, particularly if their information has been impacted. Your sharing plan should include:
- Notifying customers of a data breach and how that notification will take place
- Information about how you will protect customers in the future
- Compensation offered to customers if their data has been breached–for example, credit monitoring or other services
- Reporting to other industry professionals or organizations in order to provide future protection for your business.
- Vendor communications that will allow you to share disasters with your vendors to help prevent future problems.
Keeping up with disaster recovery planning is a critical part of protecting your business from potential emergencies. If you’d like to discuss how database management can protect your business in the future, contact us to learn more about how we can help.