15 Jan _

A Recipe For Disaster Recovery

Disaster is perhaps the most undesirable word in the business industry. Disaster can spell the end for any online retailer; even if it’s a small catastrophe, it can mean an indefinite halt on production since time is subsequently invested into discovering the root of the issue, followed by implementing the solution, and safeguarding the system with new security software or protocols.

Written by
Sean Edwards
Content Editor

A Recipe for disaster recovery

Studies in America suggest that 25% of businesses don’t open again after suffering a critical disaster, so it’s imperative that a DR plan is in place to protect from this fate.

The aftermath may also mean that business clients were affected, so there’s a requirement for apologies and investigations into possible data breaches – in the worst case scenario, any data leak of client/user information may result in potential lawsuits, and a significant loss of money.

It’s a sad fact that websites will inevitably experience a disaster in their lifetime. Poor CMS management, amateur coding, or lack of stage testing can lead to website issues, and if a threat was to reach server level, then it will likely prove detrimental to a business.

Despite mitigating risks as best they can, businesses still need a recovery plan that will aid in the preparation, prevention, and resolution of an active issue when the time comes.

Code Red- What to do if your website is attacked?

What is Disaster Recovery?

It's an area of security planning tasked with safeguarding an organisation from the fallout of significantly damaging events.

The act of Data Recovery enables an organisation to quickly identify and treat the disaster, then to maintain and resume operations as a result.

It is essentially a lifeline in the event of any code-red emergencies for online retailers.

Why are Disaster Recovery Plans Important?

Studies in America suggest that 25% of businesses don’t open again after suffering a critical disaster, so it’s imperative that a DR plan is in place to protect from this fate.

Since businesses have become increasingly reliant on becoming continuously operational, the tolerance for website downtime has decreased.

There are two important measurements to consider in disaster recovery and system downtime:

  • Recovery Point Objective

    is the maximum age of files that a business must regain from backup storage for normal operations to resume following a disaster. The recovery point objective determines the minimum frequency of backups. For example, if a business has an RPO of three hours, the system must back up at least every three hours.

  • Recovery Time Objective

    is the maximum amount of time after a disaster, for businesses to recover files from backup storage and resume normal operations. I.E. The recovery time objective is the maximum amount of downtime a business can manage. If a business has an RTO of one hour, it can’t be down for longer than that period.

Data Breach - Cyber Attack - Protection Failed

What Causes Data Breaches?

The vast majority of data breaches are caused by malicious attacks from hackers, viruses, and spyware. Although, system glitches and human error also account for breaches too, just far more uncommonly.

What are the costs of Data Breaches?

Costs can be calculated by common logic. If a site is unresponsive and slow, or completely offline altogether, the cost of downtime will be different.

  • Beginning with the amount of revenue a website earns hourly.
  • Multiplying that by the amount of hours a site was offline.
  • Adding the costs of website services per hour.
  • Adding the costs of website recovering maintenance and the rectification time spent by employees or 3rd parties.

Source - pagely.com

Extra costs will incur if customers were affected, as mentioned before. Either they’ll try and recoup their money personally or directly from the offending business if it breaches any privacy policy regulations.

Customer outreach support will also mean that a large amount of time will be spent on notifying customers/clients on the who, what, where, when, and how’s.

At a point where time and resources are precious, this can be one of the most consuming actions a business will undertake, but one set of activities that is also crucial to salvaging brand reputation and customer loyalty.

How to Make a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

An extensive, carefully documented plan for restoring data and applications is a crucial part of every business disaster recovery plan.

Each plan should provide a structured approach for responding to unexpected occurrences that happen to jeopardise a company’s IT system infrastructure – hardware, software, network, etc.

It should also outline step-by-step strategies for recovering breached systems and networks in order to subside the detrimental impacts to daily business operations.

A Risk Management assessment identifies any potential threats to business IT infrastructure, whilst the Disaster Recovery plan outlines exactly how to recover the components that are the most valuable to the company.

Keep Calm & Prepare Yourself

Here are a few key elements required in a Disaster Recovery Plan:

  • Official DR Policy Statement, Overview, and Goals of outlined DRP.

  • DR emergency team & key personnel contact information.

  • A clear and concise description of immediate disaster response actions.

  • A complete diagram of the business network and recovery site.

  • List of software & systems used for the recovery process.

Development & IT teams should personally document numerous steps within a DR plan too; they are best equipped for identifying the biggest threats and vulnerabilities to the system infrastructure and the company’s IT resources.

Allow DR staff to review threat, attack, and outage history, as well as enabling access to all relevant network infrastructure documents.

It’s important that DR personnel understand the full scale of what can potentially be impacted, and the capabilities the business possesses to combat those threats.

Testing is a crucial aspect of helping an organisation comprehend exactly what actions staff should be taking during disaster recovery scenarios.

Testing Your Disaster Recovery Plan

A business Disaster Recovery plan requires scheduled reviews, audits, and updates in case of any changes in circumstance that can potentially harm the effectiveness of the DR plan, or to test the security of any new system software or changes to existing software.

Testing is a crucial aspect of helping an organisation comprehend exactly what actions staff should be taking during disaster recovery scenarios.

Frequent dry runs of these tests will help the DR team’s performance in the event of disaster. Set aside some time for a DR Walkthrough and subsequent testing for optimal preparation.

A business can ensure that it’s equipped to survive a major disaster by planning for as many worse-case scenarios as possible.

Frequent testing will allow all personnel to learn exactly what to do in a code red situation, which will help in making the recovery process as streamlined as possible, regardless of what threats the business might face.

You’ll be back up-and-running in no time.

Sherwen Studios can help with the planning, implementation, and testing of a business Disaster Recovery Plan.

We’re dedicated to not only safeguarding system infrastructure and IT assets, but the future of your business and its brand’s reputation.

Chat with us to discuss any security or risk concerns you may have.

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