Disaster Recovery is planning, implementing and following processes to restore IT systems and infrastructures during and after disruptive events.
Importance of Disaster Recovery
Certain events can compromise or completely incapacitate IT systems. These disruptive events cannot always be prevented or controlled. They can be categorized as:
- Natural Disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods, hurricanes)
- Human-Caused Disasters (e.g., terrorism, accidents, cyber attacks)
- Other Incidents (e.g., power outages, equipment failure, infectious disease outbreaks)
Disruptive events can have varying levels of severity and cause data loss, operational downtime, financial losses, and reputational damage to organizations and businesses. According to a study conducted by Inc and Vistage, 60% of businesses, especially those that are small and mid-sized, close within 6 months of a cyber attack. As a result, organizations use Disaster Recovery procedures to reduce the impact of these adverse outcomes.
Disaster Recovery Plan
The Disaster Recovery Plan is a document that organizations create and maintain to minimize the damage of disruptive events. It contains a complete analysis of the risks and the necessary actions to recover and restore IT systems in case of disruptive events. The Disaster Recovery Plan ensures that organizations can resume normal operations.
Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan
- Risk Analysis: It identifies potential hazards and risks of disruptive events.
- Business Impact Analysis: It determines the identified risks’ impact on the business and the critical data and infrastructures for the organization.
- Recovery Point Objective: It specifies the backup timeframe that allows the organization to return to normal operation. It defines the frequency of the backups.
- Recovery Time Objective: It defines the maximum downtime after a disruptive event that is not causing significant damage to the business.
- Procedure: It contains actions that prevent the loss of critical data and a step-by-step guide on responding to different disruptive events and returning to normal operation.
Types of Disaster Recovery
Depending on the industry, criticality, IT infrastructure, and size of the organizations, different types of Disaster Recovery methods are suitable for them. The types of Disaster Recovery are the following:
- Backup: Storing only critical data on a removable drive or off-site without backing up the IT infrastructure.
- Network Disaster Recovery: Restoring network connectivity for internal and external communication, data sharing, and application access during a disaster.
- Cloud Disaster Recovery: Using cloud services to host (automated) Disaster Recovery processes, for example, automatic failover of workloads to another cloud platform in case of disruption.
- Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS): Outsourcing computer processing to a provider’s cloud infrastructure to ensure business operations during disasters. DRaaS providers are, for example, IBM, Microsoft Azure and VMware.
- Backup as a Service (BaaS): Outsourcing data backup to a provider, not including IT infrastructure. BaaS providers are, for example, Acronis, IDrive and Carbonite.
- Datacenter Disaster Recovery: The physical protection of the organization’s data center, for example, backup power sources or fire suppression.
- Virtualization: Backing up infrastructures and data on unaffected off-site virtual machines.
- Point-in-time Copies: Making copies of the entire database at specific times for restoration.
- Instant Recovery: Taking snapshots of entire virtual machines for restoration.