How To Prepare Effective Disaster Recovery Plans
—By Ashok Kumar, CEO and MD, RAH Infotech
Organizations across the globe are using information technology for quick and effective processing of information. From Emails and VOIP to Electronic Data Exchange with a whole network of connected devices, Information Technology has become an integral part of almost all business activities across organizations. So much so that the new generation of corporate executives can’t imagine functioning without IT tools. Therefore, it has become extremely essential to have disaster recovery solutions in place to tackle any disruptions that may surface in case information technology fails.
In order to ensure continuity in business operations in case of a disaster, it is essential to replicate the IT systems and data. A disaster recovery plan specifies how a company will prepare for a disaster, what would be the company’s incident response plan, and what steps will it take to ensure that operations can be restored without much downtime. Disaster recovery includes all measures involved in planning for and adapting to a manmade or natural disaster with a roadmap to restore operations while minimizing any damaging impact on the company.
Business continuity planning involves a broad approach to ensure your business is operating, not only after a natural calamity, but also in the event of smaller disruptions. Disaster recovery forms an integral part of a company’s business continuity plan. While business continuity sets out controls to keep all areas of business functioning, when a disaster hits, disaster recovery primarily focuses on IT and its systems that support business functions in case of a disaster.
Disaster recovery is becoming a top agenda and priority for Chief Executives due to the dependence on computer systems. Despite the increasing number of disasters many companies are still not prepared for a disaster. Approximately, only 50% of companies have a disaster recovery plan in place. IT systems are critical to the smooth running of a company and it is imperative to ensure that these systems continue to operate efficiently without any disruption.
Systems and networks used by companies these days are highly complex, and they need to be properly managed. It has been reported that many large companies spend between 2% to 4% of their IT budget on disaster recovery planning. It is common for a company to spend up to 25% of their IT budget. The requirement is to minimise the risk of significant loss to infrastructure. Lack of preparation can lead to a significant downtime and cause business is a colossal monetary loss.
As much as a company can minimise risk there are many disasters that cannot be avoided. Disasters can either be classified as natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods and manmade disasters such as infrastructure failure and material spills. With the recent earthquake that hit Nepal, we get an example of how severe a disaster may be and can cause a business to completely shut down in the absence of a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. A disaster cannot be eliminated but the repercussions can be reduced to a minimum.
The disaster recovery plan is an essential business document that can prevent severe loss of data which in turn can have a serious inancial implication on business and damage the company’s reputation. A disaster recovery plan should be clear and concise, focusing on key activities to recover IT services. It should be tested, reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
(The article was first published on CXOtoday.com)