What is an IT disaster recovery plan?

Disaster recovery is more than IT recovery: it is about business resiliency and proven outcomes. A good business continuity and disaster recovery plan will afford continuity through interruptions of any kind: natural disaster, power outages, IT server crashes, and more.


To create a successful IT disaster recovery plan, all stakeholders must be on the same page. Business owners, security experts, and IT leaders should collaborate with each other to determine how to best:

  • protect your data
  • recover your systems and infrastructure
  • manage the people and processes who will execute your recovery at time of disaster

To create an optimized IT disaster recovery plan, you should:

  1. Perform a business impact analysis (BIA) - A BIA will identify the most crucial systems and processes for the business and the impact an outage would have on the business. It also offers a clear picture of the vulnerabilities in the system and the time it will take to recover from an outage. Based on the result, you can prioritize the recovery effort. A business impact analysis will help you define the Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) for your critical applications.
  2. Determine application interdependencies - You need to tier your applications according to their impact on the business. Once you do this, you will see that many of your business-critical applications contain interdependencies with less critical applications. That means restoring a critical application might require that lower tier applications are also restored at the same time.
  3. Engage in disaster recovery testing - Once the plan is in place, it needs to be exercised regularly. Any areas of improvement should be integrated into your ongoing disaster recovery program in a focused way.
  4. Ensure effective change management - Your production environment undergoes daily changes that can cause it to diverge greatly from your recovery environment over time. This can cause significant recovery problems if not managed correctly.

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