As part of your cybersecurity strategy, you must be sure you have a plan in place for disaster recovery. You need to ensure if you do not have access to your information or cloud security, this will not bring operations to a halt for weeks or months. Your plan should include the following strategies to protect your company from potential cybersecurity threats and a loss of functionality that could cost your clients and money.
Discuss with Your Cloud Provider
One of the first things you need to do when formulating your disaster recovery plan is to contact your cloud provider to see what their strategy is. Your cloud provider should have some sort of disaster recovery plan in place. They may not be willing to divulge the specifics due to cybersecurity concerns, but they should be able to tell you with confidence that they have backups or some other strategy to minimize downtime and data loss in the case of a disaster. Although unlikely, if your cloud provider does not have any sort of disaster recovery plan, consider switching to another provider.
Remember you should not rely on your cloud provider to take care of your disaster recovery plan. Instead, you use their strategy as a starting point to minimize your risk. It is also possible that your cloud provider will offer you suggestions to supplement their plan, although this is not always the case.
Create a Disaster Recovery Timeline
Before you get too far along in your disaster recovery planning, you need to figure out a recovery timeline goal. This is when you figure out the absolute maximum amount of time that you can have your systems offline. To figure out the timeline, analyze how you use each system, software, and pieces of data that your company has. With a maximum timeline clearly in your head, you will have a better idea of how long you have to resolve the issues so you can gauge the urgency of your recovery strategy.
This is when you should prioritize when various pieces of software or access to data goes back online following a disaster. In other words, make a priority list with the crucial software that your company needs to function at the top of the list and the data or programs you may not need for a few weeks or month at the bottom of the list. This will help you better allocate your resources during the recovery efforts.
Back Up Crucial Files
Backups are a crucial part of any business, so ensure you save any system, software, or data that is critical to your company in multiple locations. It should be in the cloud and on a physical hard drive or other devices that you can access even if the cloud or internet, in general, is down. Ideally, you will actually have multiple physical backups in more than one location. This way, if a flood or other disaster takes out one of your facilities and your cloud provider’s servers, you still have a copy of the most important information you need to function. This will let your company remain somewhat functional while recovering from the disaster and the backups can serve as a restore point for your key software and data.
As you decide where to store crucial information, do not forget to account for data residency laws which limit where you can legally store certain types of data. These laws are most likely to apply to customer’s personal data, but you should confirm laws regarding all types of data before implementing your storage.
Incorporate the Cloud into Your Disaster Recovery Plan
To help get your systems back up and running as quickly as possible, use the cloud to your advantage. It should be more than just another place to store your information and data since the cloud is accessible from anywhere that there is an internet connection. Consider a cloud-native backup and disaster recovery plan will deliver long-term retention and instant availability to help you quickly recover. If you use a reliable cloud storage company with multiple layers of security and backups, this is further protection for your information. Just remember to supplement your cloud-native disaster recovery plan with a hard copy as well so you can begin recovery even if there is no internet or cloud access.
Make Sure You Can Perform Basic Tasks
If you set up your backups correctly, your company can still function, and do so securely, even if the cloud is temporarily down. If there are specific programs essential to the functionality of your company, ask your IT team to set these up so you can use them with or without an internet connection or access to the cloud. This will allow your company to minimize downtime, so you can reduce the risk of lost revenue from wasted time or an inability to serve your clients. Ideally, your system will be set up in a way that as soon as you regain a connection, the information will store on the cloud once again.
Test Your Plan
As with any other aspect of your business, you should not just assume your disaster recovery plan is working properly. This could leave you in a horrible position if you only discover you do not have backups once a disaster occurs and you have no way of getting your business back to its regular functionality. To avoid this problem, ensure your IT department regularly tests your disaster recovery plan. If you have a cloud-native solution, you can immediately take care of development testing, which you should repeat on a regular basis.
With the proper plan in place, your company can recover from a disaster with minimal downtime. Between physical backups and cloud solutions, you can prepare to overcome any disaster.