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What is Disaster Recovery? And Why Should You Care?

IT person using laptop in a server room

Disaster recovery isn’t a new term by any means. Still, with the pandemic pushing many businesses into the cloud and changing how we work forever, all previously suitable contingency plans have changed.

We’re here to help you decipher what it is if you need one and how it can help you with your strategic planning.

What Is Disaster Recovery?

A disaster recovery plan is a document detailing how a business can recover from a critical error, regardless of the cause. The technique enables an organization to regain access to its essential company IT systems after an unexpected failure.

By identifying systems critical to the running of the business, disaster recovery plans outline the actions to be taken in case of catastrophe or data loss designed to recover from the disaster. IT leaders and business owners can implement a disaster recovery solution to automatically take over and ensure continuity throughout the instigation of the disaster recovery plan.

Many businesses that coped well with the pandemic were able to follow their disaster recovery or business continuity plans. 

Do I Need A Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan is arguably one of the most critical business documents a company should have. No matter how much planning and resilience are put into an infrastructure plan, something unexpected will always be waiting to bring your systems down. 

Natural disasters, malicious attacks, and global pandemics are just some of the leading causes of the kinds of downtime from which the disaster recovery plan is designed to protect.

By listing your critical services and outlining a clear, step-by-step plan to re-establish access or liven up backup data, along with “back-to-normal” guidance, your business will be ready to carry on as usual soon after a critical error.

Taking action like this can give your company an edge over your competition, allowing you to continue working while they’re still attempting to establish access to their systems.

Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery

While a disaster recovery plan lays out intricate plans for recovering systems after a disaster, the business continuity plan is part of a larger business document detailing how the business can continue running throughout the disaster, crucially in other areas of the company.

Business continuity looks at the critical departments in the company and what they require to function on the most basic level. Once this is detailed, the disaster recovery plan can complement this and work to ensure the systems needed are accessible. Other non-technical related aspects of business continuity can be covered in this broader document, including postal redirection, staff communication, and other issues.

How Often Should I Test My Plan?

Plans should be tested at least once a year to ensure they can do all they’re promised if invoked through a legitimate disaster.

Ideally, plans should be tested more than once, with staff familiar with their designated actions.

Remember, your recovery is only as strong as your plan. If your disaster recovery plan doesn’t hold up, you could find yourself trying to recover systems without a viable backup.

More on this topic:

How to Develop an IT Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

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