Waiting for a disaster to occur that affects your information technology systems is not the time to start planning your response. Your disaster recovery planning needs to be done well in advance, including documenting and communicating it to all the stakeholders.
But what should go into the Disaster Recovery Plan?
Keystone prepares disaster recovery solutions for its clients that are intended to provide a comprehensive plan, ready to be used when needed. We include the following key elements:
- A set of definitions – this is important because the document is usually maintained by the IT department, and some terms, such as “Active Data Systems”, or “Reduced Performance”, should be defined in a way that a business leader will understand. This will allow them to assess the cost and capabilities of their disaster recovery process.
- A network diagram – this is important for IT personnel to see what systems are in play, along with their locations and characteristics. By including details like the location, the team can quickly assess and respond to a local issue such as fire or flooding in a location.
- A list of locations – in conjunction with the network diagram, this shows the specific location (address, room #, etc.) of key assets.
- A flowchart of the process to be enacted when a disaster occurs – this should include common tasks like communication, equipment provisioning, and system restores.
- Communication and Operations Plan – This is key, it describes each system (where system is an application the organization uses regardless of server), and what the plan will be for various time periods. This is normally viewed across multiple time lines of unavailability, such as 0-4 hours, 4-24 hours, etc. For example, if the shipping system is unavailable for 0-4 hours, the plan may be to hold shipments in staging area, but after 4 hours to use some manual process to ship. The business personnel who “own” the system should also be identified and communicated with as these periods are experienced.
- Key Personnel – A list of all key personnel with contact info; useful when initiating and communicating in a disaster. It should also include the systems they would be responsible for where applicable.
- Backup and Restore Plans – A list of all systems and when they are backed up, how and where they are backed up, and approximately how long they take to complete. This also helps when troubleshooting system performance issues. It should also include the restore plan.
- Reporting and Review – A description of how backup systems report results, and who reviews them for errors and resolution. Backups are of no value unless that can be restored when needed.
- Key Vendor Contacts – Often disasters are either caused by vendors, or resolved by them. For example, your internet access may be lost, so having the contact information is essential.
Keystone’s Disaster Recover plans are created to help you understand the risks, and restore business operations in a minimum period of time. They often run 15-20 pages in length and are valuable to clients for the following reasons:
- They are essential when a disaster occurs. As we said earlier, it is far too late to start planning for disaster when in the middle of one. This is the key reason you need one!
- They can assess the risk of losing access. This is important because mitigating risk has a cost, and the best way to manage that cost is to view it as an investment against loss of access. Keystone’s plans allow you to do this.
- They can reduce your costs of insurance. Business insurance providers often look for a comprehensive plan, and provide lower costs when they see one.
Contact Keystone today to see how we can improve your disaster recovery capabilities. We offer this as part of our comprehensive managed services, where we take care of all of your IT needs, and also offer it as a managed disaster recovery solution in conjunction with your current IT team.