Disaster recovery plan

What Is A Business Disaster Recovery Plan & Why You Need One

By Larry Gray

Mar 26, 2024
To effectively run your business, you must prepare for the worst. Learn about the five key components of a business disaster recovery plan.

Safeguard Your Business With Disaster Recovery Planning

Today’s business landscape can be unpredictable and there is often news of companies reeling after a disaster, whether natural or cyber threat-related. In this article, we’ll discover how a well-rounded disaster recovery plan can help reduce downtime, safeguard your important data, and help your business recover swiftly after an unexpected crisis.

Table of Contents

What Is Disaster Recovery Planning?

The Department of Homeland Security describes disaster recovery as a plan for data backup and electronic information/function restoration after a disrupting event. BusinesDisaster Recovery Plans (DR or DRP) often go hand in hand with business continuity plans (BCP), and we highly recommend having both in place to be prepared to defend your business from catastrophe.

What is the difference between BCP and DRP? While both plans are critical to getting your business back on track after a crisis, they center on different ideas. Business Continuity Planning has a broad focus on all aspects of your business, keeping it open and operational with minimal disruptions, whereas the primary focus of a Disaster Recovery Plan is on your IT systems and data – keeping them protected and restorable in a timely manner.

Another key difference between a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan is when these plans are put into action. A Business Continuity Plan will be deployed as soon as a business disruption occurs – ensure the business continues operating with minimal disruptions. A successful Disaster Recovery Plan deployment generally begins after the completion of a Business Continuity Plan.

What Are the 5 Steps of Disaster Recovery?

Around 75% of small businesses nationwide do not have a disaster recovery plan in place. Advancements in computer technology and storage modalities like cloud-based storage have caused business owners to view data loss as an inconsequential threat. In reality, data loss may be a more looming pitfall if your disaster recovery plan is lacking or nonexistent.

#1: Assess Potential Risks

Like business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning includes itemizing your inventory and ranking them by criticality and risk probability. The most common risks that should be addressed in a disaster recovery plan are:

  • Storage failure

  • Cyber attacks

  • Technology and critical hardware failure

  • Human error

  • Power outages caused by natural or manmade disasters

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, roughly 60% of small businesses go out of business within at least six months of falling victim to a cyber attack. Another study revealed that hardware failures account for 40% of unplanned technological downtime, followed by loss of power (35%), software failure (34%), data corruption (24%), external security breaches (23%), and accidental user error (20%).

Essential IT you should consider when assessing potential risks include:

  • Cloud Services

  • Critical Data

  • Hardware

  • Software

  • Network Equipment

disaster recovery planning

#2: Define Your RTO and RPO

Recovery objectives are one of the most important parameters of a disaster recovery plan. Recovery objectives can be divided into two categories:

  1. Recovery time objective (RTO): the amount of time your assets can be down before major disruptions result in intolerable consequences.

  2. Recovery point objective (RPO): the amount of data measured in time that you can afford to lose. This helps define how often you should make a backup of your data.

These objectives should be clearly defined early for each system in the plan to choose your disaster recovery setup accordingly.

Almost 83% of businesses can only afford 8 hours of downtime before negative effects begin to take a serious toll on operations. Only 52% of businesses are capable of restoring critical systems within 12 hours of a cataclysmic data loss event — 29% of these same businesses may require up to a day or two to fully recover.

RPO and RTO can be affected by factors like:

  • Maximum tolerable data loss

  • Data storage options

  • Cost of data loss and lost operations

  • Industry-specific factors

  • Compliance schemes

  • Data recovery solutions budget

It’s also important to note that the disaster recovery system becomes more expensive as the RTO and RPO become shorter. This is due in part to the increase in the number of backups required and the requirements for recovery.

#3: Select a Disaster Recovery Setup

Once you’ve analyzed all of the risks and developed RTO and RPO goals, you can move toward choosing a disaster recovery setup. You may then need to evaluate:

  • Whether you will have a hot disaster recovery site.

  • Where will your disaster recovery site be located? Will it be cloud-based or self-hosted?

  • If you choose to maintain the backups yourself, where will they be located?

You’ll also want to consider outside resources when formulating your disaster recovery setup, which may include:

  • Software

  • Network operation centers

  • IT services

  • Disaster recovery teams

At Fixed Fee IT, we can help you develop a disaster recovery setup with strategic cyber consulting along with our other services, such as:

  • Cyber risk assessment

  • Managed IT services

  • Microsoft 365

  • Cyber security and compliance

  • Co-managed IT services

#4: Secure Your Remote Access and Data Backups

To further protect your data from cyber attacks, you’ll want to secure your remote access and data backups.

Whether you’re using SSH, RDP, VPN, or other remote access control technology, accessing applications and sensitive information remotely will always be a cyber security risk. Still, remote access is a vital part of any disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

The frequency and quality of your data backups will strengthen or weaken your disaster recovery objectives. Some practices you can consider to secure your data backup may include:

  • Keeping backups separate from the main company network. If ransomware can access the main network, where data backups are also stored, it can pass through the entire network and encrypt backup data, rendering it defunct.

  • Backup all essential data automatically, without human intervention.

  • Implement the 3-2-1 strategy, which calls for creating three copies of data. Two should be stored on two different types of media, and the other copy should be stored off-site or in the cloud.

  • Ensure that each copy of your data backup requires different credentials for access.

  • Invest in disaster recovery tools and services.

#5: Test and Review

When reviewing your disaster recovery plan, you may want to test your:

  • Backups to make sure your data is secure and recoverable.

  • Disaster Recovery processes to make sure they can be successfully implemented.

  • Your Disaster Recovery team to ensure they know what to do in an emergency.

To avoid data loss and compromisation, you’ll want to routinely test and improve your disaster recovery plan. Even the most comprehensive disaster recovery plan may fall apart if not tested. To ensure that your disaster recovery plan does not let anything slip through the cracks, you can rely on trusted IT professionals to consult and counsel you about your plan.

How Fixed Fee IT Can Help Your Business Enhance Its Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Setup

For nearly three decades, Fixed Fee IT has been assisting businesses like yours in the Portland area in creating and executing their disaster recovery plans.

We lead the industry in cybersecurity and compliance and boast SOC2 Type 2 Attestation – surpassing industry benchmarks for security and privacy. We are a team committed to service, security, and success for our clients and to providing companies and business owners with proactive IT strategies and management.

Let Fixed Fee IT help ensure your business is properly prepared and protected for the worst. Contact us today to improve your disaster recovery plan.

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