Tips for Integrating Disaster Recovery Services into Your IT Business Continuity Strategy

 

Does your business have Disaster Recovery Services? An interruption in your IT operations has just occurred: what are your next steps? Disaster Recovery Services can be the major difference in how fast your business can be back on track and in working order. But, even when Disaster Recovery Services may seem to cover the needs of your business, there can still be a possibility that it may not be tackling every area. That’s because most Disaster Recovery Services are focused on major IT disasters only.

However, a number of surveys have indicated that it is far more likely that an interruption in your IT operations will result from less-dramatic causes such as a server failure or an Internet connection outage. It is for this reason that your Disaster Recovery Solution needs to be aware of an entire range of possible disasters; from isolated disasters (such as a disk failure) to major catastrophes, like a fire or flood that has the potential to take down your entire server network.

So, how do you make sure your Disaster Recovery Services checks off the entire spectrum of possibilities? The answer is simple: you need to manage your Disaster Recovery Services as an extension of your IT business continuity strategy.


Why integrate Disaster Recovery Services into your IT Business Continuity Strategy?

Integrating your Disaster Recovery Services into your IT business continuity strategy makes sense for two major reasons:

  • It reduces your chance of having a long-term outage.
  • Your disaster recovery services will have actions that are easy to implement.

Let’s take a look at two major benefits of integrating Disaster Recovery Services into your IT business continuity strategy:

Benefit 1. Integrating disaster recovery thinking into your normal IT operations will greatly extend your IT Business continuity processes to account for several disaster scenarios. This will lower the chances of extended system outages in a disaster and provide you with a complete action plan for any sudden incidents. It will also lead to better decision-making about how to respond to less obvious disaster recovery scenarios, when to escalate those incidents, and whether to initiate recovery procedures rather than continue troubleshooting.

Benefit 2. A further benefit is that your Disaster Recovery Services will be more actionable when it is integrated into your overall IT Business continuity process(es). By linking your Disaster Recovery Services into your IT business continuity strategy, it’ll be much clearer when you need to invoke your Disaster Recovery Services, especially when the situation is not an obvious disaster.

Related: Disaster Recovery Plan – 4 Myths Debunked!


How to integrate your Disaster Recovery Services into your IT Business Continuity strategy?

A great starting point to integrating your Disaster Recovery Services into your IT business continuity strategy is performing a Business Impact Analysis on all your current IT systems. A Business Impact Analysis prioritizes the components of your IT Systems in order to document which of your systems are Mission Critical, Important or Not Important for day-to-day operations – this means, in the event of a disaster, you’ll have a clear understanding of which IT Systems you absolutely must get back online first, and which ones can wait a little longer.

Here is a list of steps to follow to implement your Disaster Recovery Services and regular IT Business continuity together.

Step 1. First, determine the impact of downtime on your business operations and, if needed, re-evaluate what you’ve assigned to the component.

Step 2. Next, identify any system requirements that exist.

Step 3. Then, perform a risk assessment to determine where to prioritize your investment to meet your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO).

Step 4. Once you have the Mission Critical guidelines completed, follow the same process for your Important systems and Non-Important systems.

Want to understand what RTO and RPO are? Here’s a short video that explains what they mean:

 

Three things to consider when integrating your Disaster Recovery Services with your IT business continuity strategy

The three critical elements to consider for integrating your Disaster Recovery Services with your IT Business Continuity are: 1) prioritizing the severity of the disasters that could occur; 2) defining appropriate escalation time frames; and 3) defining Disaster Recovery timelines and goals. Below, we’ll break these down in greater detail.

1. Prioritizing Disaster Severity


Not all Disasters are equal in priority. The response to a natural disaster that takes your entire system offline will be different from a failure of a single component, like, for instance, your website being temporarily unavailable. You need to consider all the possible issues that could happen and assign each a priority level based on the impact it will create on your business. For example, the most serious disasters such as your entire IT system down due to a ransomware attack might have a severity level of 10. Whereas other minor issues might be level 3. To help get you started on thinking of prioritizing disaster severity, we’ve come up with a list of IT disasters that focus on three main areas: Operational Failures, Natural Disasters, and Human-Caused Events.

Operational Failures:

  • Power Failure
  • IT Hardware Failure
  • Network Failure
  • IT Software Failure

Natural Disasters that Could Potentially Impact Your Business:

  • Hurricane
  • Flood
  • Winter Storm
  • Fire
  • Earthquake

Human-Caused Events:

  • Human Error
  • Malicious Outsider
  • Malicious Insider
  • Chemical Spill
  • Terrorism

2. Escalation Time Frames

While level 10 disasters would immediately lead to the decision to instantly activate your Disaster Recovery Services, lower level incidents might likely be handled by your troubleshooting team first as part of your IT Business Continuity – thus, it’s important to really identify and define escalation time frames based on your unique business needs and what disasters you have prepared for. And, in some cases, what seems to be a relatively minor disaster quickly turns into a major disaster, so make sure that you know when troubleshooting is no longer going to handle the situation and you can transition control over to Disaster Recovery services. This needs a timeframe, too – when do you call it? When do you determine that you’ve gone from a minor to a major disaster? 

3. Disaster Recovery Timelines and Goals

When your Disaster Recovery Services are activated you’ll need to set clear timelines and goals. For example, you need to map out what your organization considers an appropriate or adequate Recovery Time Objective (RTO) or a Recovery Point Object (RPO) as part of the integration between your Disaster Recovery Services with your IT Business Continuity strategy.

Related: Disaster Recovery Planning – Do’s & Don’ts

 

Let Us Help You Improve the Success of your Disaster Recovery Services

Your Disaster Recovery Plan will be more successful when it is integrated with your IT Business Continuity strategy. Our team of experts are experienced in helping organizations achieve successful integration of Disaster Recovery with their IT Business continuity. Contact us today and we will be happy to discuss how you can minimize your organization’s downtime during disaster and incidents