A few weeks back we talked about developing a comprehensive backup plan to ensure that you have a copy of all crucial enterprise data should you ever need it. Once this is done, you can move to the second step of your overall Data Protection Strategy; A data recovery plan (DRP). This plan outlines the steps necessary not only for eliminating risk and hopefully preventing a loss, but perhaps even more importantly, for bringing your systems back to a state in which they can support your business following disaster, corruption, or accidental deletion.
A good data recovery plan will outline two key metrics:
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – This is the maximum time prior to loss that you will need to have all data safely available at another location. In other words, at what point in time, as you work backwards from the moment of disaster, could you lose all data and still survive. Could you lose 12 hours of data or new work? 24 hours? One hour? Your answer here will determine how often you should be doing backups.
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – This is the point in time following the incident where your recovery team needs to have all systems back up and running. For instance, with an RTO of 4 hours, you are saying that your company could survive an outage lasting no longer than 4 hours before significant consequences will occur to your business continuity. While no outage is ever easy, your RTO should reflect the point at which your business may be in jeopardy of not surviving the incident.
For most small businesses, 24 hours is a good objective for both recovery point and recovery time. This would mean that successful backups are done each night, or at the end of each day. It also means that following a loss, you can expect your team to have your systems up and completely functioning by the next day.
Once your RPO and your RTO have been established, it’s time to put the last few pieces in place for your data recovery plan:
Determine Your Team – It’s never a good idea to have only one person capable of restoring your system or having the password to access your data. Assemble a team you can count on.
Write Your Recovery Manual – This will be a step by step listing of everything that will need to be done – and by whom – to bring you back online. It will also need to be scalable, with instructions ranging from replacing a stolen laptop to rebuilding the entire infrastructure following a fire.
Remember, smart businesses are continually refining their manual and practicing recovery procedures routinely.
If you need additional help building your DRP, give us a call.
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