Disaster Recovery Plan
The importance of a disaster recovery plan cannot be overstated. Unforeseen events can bring day-to-day operations to a halt, and an organization needs to recover as quickly as possible, so it can continue to provide services to its clients.
From data security breaches to natural disasters, there must be a plan in place in case of a catastrophe. Not having a disaster recovery plan can put an organization at risk of high financial costs, reputation loss and even greater risks for its clients and customers. Organizations and businesses that do not currently have a plan in place may recognize its importance but struggle with getting started. Those who have not been affected by unforeseen events and costly unplanned downtime may even think that they are immune from disaster. However, it is better to be prepared since the cost of not having a plan in place can pose serious risks for an organization.
Networks and data access can be knocked out without warning, thanks to natural and man-made disasters. You can’t stop them all from happening, of course, but with a good disaster recovery plan, you can be better prepared for the unexpected. The Gray Leaf team can help you protect your organization from the effects of significant, negative events. A good Disaster Recovery plan will allow you to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions following a disaster.
Cloud Disaster Recovery
Cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) can be an attractive alternative for companies short on IT resources. Using the Cloud for DR reduces the need for data center facilities, an IT infrastructure, and IT resources.
Cloud capacity planning discussions will enable the Gray Leaf team to work with your organization to create a disaster recovery plan that is relevant for your business and the industry it’s in, resulting in a specific and distinctive plan that is easy to implement.
The Gray Leaf team can assist with implementing a Cloud solution that ensures cloud resource protection, to include data encryption and file versioning, protecting your data from loss and threats. Since every organization is unique, the solution can be tailored to your organization’s specific needs.
Automated synchronization to the cloud protects users automatically, and data back-up schedulers are flexible. Back-up and restore processes can be basic – allowing for the restore of accidentally deleted files, as well as backups for SharePoint files, or more complex, to include OneDrive files, Outlook messages & contacts.
A critical aspect of disaster recovery planning is emergency communications. There must be a system in place to communicate information to your team, the senior management team, your customers, and in some cases, the press, Government and others.
As part of your disaster recovery planning, the Gray Leaf team can help you to establish your communication plan in an emergency or disaster and ensure that participants with a role in disaster recovery operations understand how and whom to communicate with.
An emergency communications plan may involve a phone tree that employees participate in to inform others about a situation. Communication methods will vary based on company size and resources, but, regardless, the plan should be accessible and reviewable by all members of the organization. Emergency communications information included in your disaster recovery plan can also include the location of remote worksites and other relevant information.
Data Storage & Redundancy
It is likely that your organization generates large amounts of data, as well as changing data files throughout the day. Data loss could result in a significant disruption to your business. Data back-up and recovery should be an integral part of your disaster recovery plan. The strategy starts with identifying what data to back up, implementing back up procedures, scheduling back-ups and validating that the data has been backed up as expected.
There is a real relationship between the risk and cost associated with data loss, and the cost of protection against it. It is important to think about and understand your organization’s most critical applications, and the associated data generated from those applications.
The Gray Leaf team can assist your team to understand the maximum data loss threshold you can tolerate and help you to come up with a data back-up plan that is effective and dependable.
Facilities & Operations
Facilities & Operations is an important consideration in disaster recovery planning. Ensuring that the people, systems, processes, and technology are available to deliver efficient and effective support services for the organization, even during a disruption due to a disaster, is critical.
According to an IDC study, enterprises that didn't outsource lost on average $4 million per disaster. In contrast, enterprises that outsourced to a third party lost an average of $1.1 million per incident.
We recommend that one of the first items completed in your disaster recovery planning checklist is a business impact analysis, to see how your operations will be affected by potential events. When conducting a business impact analysis, we will help your team gather information about your systems, processes, and technology, to determine how those things, and ultimately your organization, would be affected by different potential disasters. The resulting report based on those findings will allow us to help you make changes or additions to a business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan.
A questionnaire or survey is a common method of conducting the business impact analysis among staff, collecting detailed information about all the different departments and parties that can be affected and what can be done to get operations up and running.
Planning & Management
With the right assessments, you can find out where your organization might be vulnerable and what resources you have available, which will enable you to customize a Disaster Recovery plan to suit your needs. Afterward, you can ensure the plan works in practice and adjust with testing and exercises.
The Gray Leaf team can assist your management team and/or disaster recovery coordinator to understand what's the worst that could happen?
- What are the things that can go wrong and what disaster recovery scenarios should you plan for?
- What is the probability of that scenario happening?
- What will be the effect or cost if that scenario does occur?
If people don't think a disaster is likely to happen to their organization, they likely won't take action to prepare for that scenario. Ensuring the proper employees and teams are involved in developing, testing and executing these plans when necessary is critical to the operability of the company during an event.
Risk management is an important part of disaster recovery planning, in parallel with understanding your business criticality. Namely, what do you really need and when; how long can you be without specific software & tools? Although the primary principle of risk mitigation is to prepare for any potential risk, a risk plan weighs the effect of each risk and prioritizes disaster recovery planning around that.
Services and Outsourcing
While outsourcing doesn’t absolve your organization of all IT responsibilities, using an outside vendor can provide you with a redundant IT environment or data back-up plan that allows for recovery options that your organization would otherwise not be able to support on its own. The Gray Leaf team can assist with the analysis to determine if outsourcing for disaster recovery is right for your organization. An outsourcing arrangement still requires careful planning and seamless interoperability between your primary IT environment, and the DR environment housed outside your organization.
Infrastructure/IT capabilities, expertise, support levels, and physical location are among the factors to consider when choosing an outsourcing vendor. We can help you determine which aspects of your business make sense to outsource and which will remain in-house. It is critical for your organization to be able to operate during a multitude of disasters, including weather-related events, human error or cyber-attack.