As the business world becomes more dependent on technology, there are a number of provisions that they have to take in order to protect their operations. When it comes to business computer systems, preparations have to be implemented in the event an incident occurs that puts data at risk of permanent loss due to an unexpected disaster.
Technological disasters can occur as the result of such situations as flooding, fire, power surge … etc. The following list outlines the basics of setting up a disaster recovery plan:
1. Risk Assessment: Determine possible risks to your computer system. This can include natural disasters, viruses, worms, power outages … etc. Prioritize the threats and their impact. You should also consider how long your system can be down before it starts to negatively affect your business. Determine which data and applications are essential to the business. Conduct security assessments to analyze personal computers, data and voice communication application controls, operating procedures, systems and access control software security, contingency planning, backup procedures, and database security systems.
2. Determine Protection Costs: Once you have identified the risks, assess how much it will cost to protect your system so that you can create a budget. Costs can include the disaster recovery equipment, data upgrade software and equipment, recovery planning software, back up equipment, emergency support, and other emergency equipment such as emergency generators.
3. Develop a Recovery Plan: IT staff should create a plan to back up and protect important and critical systems. A special team should be assigned to create the plan. Use a specific script that will test, repair, and recover programs and data. The plan should identify weaknesses and how to strengthen them, how to shorten the duration of the outage, and make recovery an easy process. Record the impact of a lengthy loss to operations and essential business functions. Make sure all departments and appropriate personnel understand the plan.
4, Acquire Appropriate Technology: Assess what is required to implement the plan. Purchase recovery hardware and software required to support and maintain the disaster plan. Upgrade any essential systems
5. Simulate the Plan: Perform tests on the system to see if the recovery plan contains any glitches. Repair any problems in the recovery process. Test often to maintain integrity of the plan. You also want to make sure you are up to date on current threats and are prepared to deal with them effectively The plan should be easy to understand, maintain, and run.
6. Establish Maintenance Programs: Run maintenance checks to make sure that you maintain support for the plan. If necessary, revise the plan to accommodate new threats.
Creating a disaster recovery plan can be an expensive and time consuming task. Although the risk of a major disaster is relatively minimal, the result could have been disastrous for the business. With the amount of new viruses and worms making their way through the internet, the threats to businesses are a constant daily problem. For this reason, it is well worth the expense of creating a disaster recovery plan.
An essential element of implementing an effective disaster recovery plan is to have the support of a knowledgeable full time staff. Constant testing, updating, and modification will ensure the plan stays intact. Staff should be trained to react immediately to a sudden disaster and implement the plan effectively. You never know when disaster is going to strike. It just makes good business sense to make sure you are prepared.