Best Practices for Disaster Recovery Plans
Before developing or revising a disaster recovery plan, agencies must first establish a baseline, which includes a review and analysis of an organization’s entire IT infrastructure. The DR plan should include a comprehensive list of assets — including hardware, software, devices and applications — and details such as capture version history, system location, and backup and data protection.
Protecting data is crucial. Agencies should apply the 3-2-1-1-0 rule to their data backup practices, which instructs organizations to maintain at least three copies of data on at least two different types of storage media, with one copy at an offsite location, one copy stored offline and all recoverability solutions with zero errors. Data protection solutions that support an agency’s entire data storage environment can ensure this process is followed.
With these details mapped out, DR plans need to outline clear, tactical steps to be followed, as well as roles and responsibilities, in the event of a disaster. Ensuring that all employees know their roles will help the recovery process move smoothly and quickly. The DR plan should also include a crisis communication plan for internal and external communications.
Once the basics of the DR plan are established, repetitive tasks can be automated, allowing employees to focus on more complex, supervisory tasks. As always, compliance is crucial: Automated systems can quickly demonstrate the health and compliance of DR plans to executives and regulators, limiting stress.
Because technologies, team members and even the nature of disasters themselves constantly change, a successful DR plan must be tested regularly. Agencies should be running full-scale tests routinely for different types of disaster, such as hurricanes, cyberattacks and even the accidental deletion of data.
Creating a DR plan can be daunting, but having one in place can save a significant amount of money, maintain citizen services at particularly trying times and enable agencies to fully meet their mission. As both technology and disasters become more sophisticated and disruptive, having the right plan and solutions in place will keep systems running.