Disaster recovery is hugely important for all businesses. Without it, even the smallest disruption can end up derailing your entire operation, but when things start to go wrong you can't simply press a button and expect everything to go back to normal. In fact, there are many different phases of disaster recovery that need to be navigated before you can say with certainty that your business has recovered.
The first of the three primary stages of disaster recovery is damage assessment. It is easy to panic when your business faces disruption, but it is vital that you remain calm and identify the issue at hand. Rely on your expert staff and your to understand what sort of disruption you are facing. Are you experiencing an external hack, a malware infiltration, a systems outage or something out of your hands like a power cut? Understanding the cause of your disruption is vital.
Assessing the damage to your business should be a methodical process. If you have carried out a business impact analysis (BIA) you should know the financial impact of disruption across all of your business processes. Long-term reputational damage will be more difficult to gauge, but should still be factored in at this stage.
Restoration and repair
The next step on the road to disaster recovery is restoration and repair. If you have invested in backup solutions, either in-house or cloud-based, then you can use these to restore your systems. In particular, if you use real-time backup then the amount of data lost as a result of the disruption should be minimal.
You will also need to repair the cause of the disaster to prevent repeat incidents. This could involve physical repairs such as hardware breakages, but software repairs are just as likely. If you have suffered a security breach, for example, applying a patch is vital before you bring your IT systems back online.
Recovery and relaunch
The final stage to be navigated by your business is recovery and relaunch. Once your IT systems have been restored and repaired, they'll need to undergo testing and validation before you can be sure that they have returned to normal. If you can certify that your processes are fully operational and secure then it is time to relaunch – however, your work is still not complete.
Does your disaster recovery stand up to the test?
Following a disruption, you should review your disaster recovery steps and make any updates and improvements you feel would be beneficial. Any updates that you do incorporate must be tested, alongside your plans generally. Running simulations and employee training programs are a good way of ensuring that your recovery systems are working effectively.
If you want to make sure that your business is following all the necessary phases of disaster recovery then partnering with a recovery management provider is advisable. They will offer technical resources alongside expert knowledge to ensure that your disaster recovery plan goes as smoothly as possible, from the damage assessment stage right up to relaunch.