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IT Disaster Recovery: How Does Your Backup Plan Hold Up?

IT Disaster Recovery: How Does Your Backup Plan Hold Up?

Could your next unanticipated data breach or cyberattack end up costing you more than you can afford? Without an IT disaster recovery plan in place, you may be placing your organization in jeopardy.

It’s estimated that 79 percent of businesses and other organizations are not well-positioned when it comes to fielding disasters or recovering from them. Unfortunately, this could end up causing these organizations to take a significant financial hit. In fact, the cost of downtime to manage IT disasters averages $5,600 every minute—or more than $300,000 every hour. 

But what about those organizations that invest in IT disaster recovery efforts and data protection services? They fare much better when disaster strikes; 96 percent of organizations with a tested, reliable backup and disaster recovery plan survive ransomware attacks. 

In any sector or industry, having a tested, reliable backup plan can make all the difference in how you recover from any kind of issue, turning the loss of several days of productivity into a blip on the radar, and protecting your reputation and your progress. However, this is especially true when you have to meet regulatory and compliance requirements in industries like healthcare, finance, and within the legal system. Are you ready with a thorough disaster recovery backup plan? 

About Disaster Recovery

What is disaster recovery?

Broadly, disaster recovery can be explained as how well a business or organization can respond to any kind of event that poses a threat to continued business operations. The entire goal of having a disaster recovery backup plan is to give organizations the power to regain the use of their IT infrastructure and their most critical systems as quickly as possible after an incident, disaster, attack, or other business interruption. 

So, what does disaster recovery and backup planning entail?

A disaster recovery plan starts by conducting an in-depth analysis of your systems: What solutions and tools you use, what risks you need to address, and how everything works together as part of your entire technology ecosystem. This analysis provides key insights that help you and your team to create a formal document outlining all the steps to take during and after a crisis.

Disaster recovery is, as it sounds, all about being prepared for the unexpected. While this may be a ransomware or malware attack, a disaster recovery backup plan may also account for other incidents like:

  • Fires, floods, tornadoes, or other natural disasters
  • Software failure 
  • Equipment failure
  • Power outages
  • Human error
  • Cyberattacks
  • Industrial accidents

Having a disaster recovery plan ready to go means that when things go wrong, you’re protected. You have the infrastructure in place to resume mission-critical functions quickly—and without any major losses to your operations, your business, or your reputation. 

Planning for these disasters in advance and knowing how to respond offers several benefits. Among them, having an IT disaster recovery plan establishes a shared awareness for dealing with potential disruptions and empowers an organization to make its mission-critical functions a top priority. Additionally, a disaster recovery plan provides you with the space to talk about these mission-critical functions and make careful, intentional plans for how to respond without the intense pressure of an actual disaster.

What Should Be Part of Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

Disaster recovery is all about mitigating damage and getting back to normal operation as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s helpful to have a plan in place. 

Think of it like a fire drill: You come up with a plan, prepare for how you’ll respond, and then practice your response to the emergency. And just like a fire drill helps keep everyone safe, an IT disaster recovery plan helps protect your organization.

Your organization’s reaction to any kind of outage or incident is all about business contingency and continuity. That’s why a backup recovery plan, complete with detailed procedures, trained staff fulfilling assigned duties, and established lines of communication is so important. Here are a few considerations to see if your backup plan holds up:

Be Sure to Backup Your Data—Offsite

One of the most common recommendations out there when it comes to protection from risks like ransomware is to back up your data. But this is only so helpful if your only backup is on site. 

After all, ransomware doesn’t just take hold of your data. In many cases, an incident like a ransomware attack leaves many devices unusable. As explained in Security Week, “Backups play an important role during ransomware attacks by allowing you to restore your data…But what happens if your primary site no longer exists? You have nothing to recover back to.” Or even worse, the malware may even destroy your backup.

The solution? Having an on-site backup is wise, but it’s just as essential to have an additional backup offsite to mitigate the overall impact of these targeted attacks.

Identify Your Top Priorities

Your disaster recovery plan is based on one thing: A business impact analysis. This analysis is an in-depth report that assesses your overall operations to determine which systems should be recovered first in the event of a disaster or interruption. By conducting this report, you can prioritize your most critical systems, data, and other assets to keep your organization running. Additionally, a business impact analysis helps you plan for disruptions and their subsequent impacts and prioritizes which recovery strategies are most useful to your operations.

Determine Who to Contact Outside Your Team

In the event of a ransomware attack or other cybersecurity threat, you should consider who you need to contact for assistance. This may include:

  • Outside partners
  • Vendors
  • Government or industry responders
  • Technical advisors or data protection service partners
  • Law enforcement

Your disaster recovery backup plan should clearly identify who you can reach out to for assistance. For example, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have designated teams dedicated to responding to cyberattacks and can guide your team through how to report incidents properly to get the right assistance.

Detail Who to Contact Within Your Organization

An established reporting procedure for how to identify, share, and contain a cyberattack or security breach eliminates broken lines of communication. As a result, you can identify and address issues faster and more efficiently.

When it comes to keeping your organization safe from business interruptions, it’s essential to keep communication flowing. After all, most data breaches happen slowly and gradually—not in one single moment, which means communication from the top down can help keep everyone on the same page.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

When it comes to a disaster recovery strategy that holds up, it’s important to share your incident response plan with your entire organization so that when you need to do something like isolate a particular segment of your network or shut down affected servers or reroute traffic away from impacted parts of your infrastructure, everyone knows how to do so. 

Communication is just as important after an incident or attack, when you need to test your systems to ensure their security configurations and operational status to see that you’ve resolved everything. This is also the time to share with your team any damage that’s been done and how you plan to improve your systems during recovery. Sharing these details with your team not only creates a stronger infrastructure moving forward, but builds a culture of trust and resilience. 

Data Protection Services: The Essential Element in a Strong Disaster Recovery Strategy

At Christo IT, we get that for busy professionals, every second counts. Developing a strong backup recovery plan that meets industry regulatory requirements takes time and effort, as does monitoring for threats that could impede your productivity and put your data at risk. 

That’s why we’ve seen firsthand all the ways that managed IT services can be such a game changer for industry leaders like legal teams, physicians and healthcare providers, financial professionals, and accountants. 

Here’s why: Managed IT services provide you with dedicated, continuous monitoring of your business system. Thanks to the constant support of a dedicated IT management team, you can respond to disasters in mere moments. That way, when a problem arises, expert IT professionals are on the case, handling time-sensitive issues so that even if you’re immersed in your task at hand, business continues as usual. 

Small businesses can take steps to protect their systems like encrypting data, backing up business files, enabling firewalls, and separating personal data from business data. But that takes precious time. That’s why this work is best left to the professionals.

A managed IT service provider empowers you with data backup and recovery services including off-site backups, help desk support, and 24-hour monitoring to improve your network system and enhance your security measures. Through these data protection services, you gain consolidated, amplified security strategies that keep you protected. 

The perfect time to examine your disaster readiness:

  • Can you identify all data and IT functions you have in place?
  • Do you know what systems, data, and functions you should prioritize?
  • Does your backup and disaster recovery plan align with the value and importance of your assets?

 Let us help you discover the answer. Download our Free Disaster Audit Worksheet here