A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a set of policies, tools, and protocols that enable the recovery or continuation of crucial technology infrastructure and systems in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Disaster recovery focuses on the technology systems that support critical business functions. How this differs from Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is that the latter involves keeping all essential aspects of a business functioning notwithstanding significant events that disrupt operations. Thus, DRP is a part or subset of business continuity planning. Additionally, disaster recovery assumes that the primary site is not recoverable (at least for some time) and constitutes the restoration of data and services to a secondary backup site as opposed to restoring it to its original place.
With that in mind, the following are ways in which having an IT disaster recovery plan can save your business from irreparable damage to its brand and reputation.
1. Mitigates the impact of technical failures
Technical failures can take the form of power outages and hardware faults. In 2017, it was estimated that power outages accounted for 35% of unplanned downtime while hardware failure accounted for another 45%. Adding it all up, as much as 80% of failures were cause by mundane issues like network glitches, dysfunctional drivers or general infrastructure problems. Knowing this, it becomes clear why businesses must stay on top of routine hardware updates. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan with near instant restore time objective (RTO) capabilities is invaluable under these circumstances.
2. Enables you to fully recover from cyber attacks or acts of terrorism
The WannaCry ransomware attack in May of 2017 that targeted Windows operation systems brought giants like FedEx and the National Health Service (NHS) temporarily to their knees. Not only did this expose the cybersecurity inadequacies in Windows, but it also punctuated the discomforting fact that a significant portion of personnel in the workforce routinely ignore IT reminders to keep their data systems updated with the latest security patches to combat viruses and other forms of malware or ransomware attacks. This laxness also underscored the need for organizations as a whole to take disaster recovery more seriously and for all members, IT and non-IT alike to imbibe a data security-centric mentality.
Ransomware attacks will only rise with time, but what is important to note is that a company with a reliable disaster recovery protocol stands a greater chance of fully recovering from the attack. Having an adequate disaster recovery and business continuity plan ensures that your organization is prepared for any eventuality that could cripple your business processes with significant downtime or data loss.
The proximity and threat of terror attacks also affects the economy. It is estimated that the direct economic cost of the 9/11 terror attacks is $100+ billion. The indirect effects such as market volatility and the lost revenue due to the decline in tourism are estimated to be about $2 trillion. There is no doubt that terrorism has dire economic consequences and may affect your business in some way. It is wise to think of things like power disruptions and infrastructure damage like that of a natural disaster and how these could influence your businesses’ bottom line.
3. Creates a fallback in case of natural disasters
Natural disasters can cause serious economic losses. In 2017, 16 events across the US alone racked up a cost of more than $1 billion. This encompassed more than just data loss. When securing the physical assets of a company, consider the location, proximity to supply chains, fault lines, and other local dangers. A disaster recovery plan necessarily takes all these into consideration. When choosing a secondary back-up site, it is logical to choose a data center that is more physically secure and not just a place across the street as whatever natural disaster affects the primary site will naturally affect the backup site as well if it’s in such close proximity.
4. Enables your team to operate more effectively even amidst human errors
It is estimated that human error is responsible for as much as 47% of major disaster recovery mistakes in small to medium-sized businesses. Human capital should be seen as the first line of defense and yet many businesses fall short of implementing a proper training security training program to inform personnel of their responsibilities. Establishing an ongoing security training program to keep staff up to date on the latest malware tactics of cybercriminals can do a lot to mitigate the risks associated with unintentional security breaches like handing out critical information to cleverly disguised phishing agents.
Keeping your staff informed on how to recognize suspicious activities from threat agents both internal and external to the organization can firm up your security posture. It is also helpful to create a DRP manual that includes step-by-step procedures, including passwords, and the location of all your systems.
Knowing all that your business stands to lose in the absence of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, it is simply not a risk worth taking just to avoid the added expense. Having the ability to operate from remote online servers enables you to have ‘life-saving’ redundancy of all critical data, processes, and applications in the event of unexpected disasters. It is not worth risking your brand, your business and your reputation just to save a bit of money.