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Disaster recovery plan, the DRP is a registered format or procedure that a company follows with an aim of recovering and protecting IT infrastructure in the possibility of a risk (Kim, Lee and Kim, pp.17-31). Disaster recovery plan was established in the late 1970s as many companies grew the urge and dependency on computer systems (Reimer, pp.289-290). Notably, batch oriented system was popular at the time, which in many instances could drag and slow for a number of days leading to a compelling damage to the organization. It is important to understand that a company cannot always dodge a disaster; however, with active planning the outcomes of a tragedy can be neutralized (Cloud Computing an Emerging Tool to Survive E-Business Especially Small and Medium Sized Business, pp.1877-1880). Previous reports reinforce the concept that utilizing on a premeditated data recovery approach is extra cost effective eventually (Research on Planning Process of Community Disaster Management Plan at Tsunami-Hit Area, pp.736-754). Further, the reports showed that for every 1 dollar spent on disaster recovery plans saved the companies 4 dollars in recovery and response. With the growth of technology and information technology (IT) systems, proving to be key in the smooth run of organization, the concern to increase a perpetual recovery and operation has grown. For instance, research done by the Australian disaster management committee and Harvard school of business proved that 43% of companies that suffered a major loss of trade data never reopened and 29% were closed within 2 years (Australasian Disaster and Hazard Research Directory, pp.8-15). Therefore, the process of disaster recovery plan needs to be held seriously.
A sudden and an unpredicted event on a company’s operational line can heavily affect the company and interfere with the day to day routine of the company. However, the basic truth is every organization needs a disaster recovery plan to enable it to heal quickly and continue offering services to its customers after the risk has occurred. There are several reasons why an organization needs to have a disaster recovery plan. Firstly, it is because downtime is expensive. According to scholars downtime is a time or period when a computer is unavailable or not functional. Previous research showed that 20% of all organizations experience fire, flood, earthquakes and other natural disaster annually. Similarly, in just a year 80% these companies will have closed their operations. IT downtime cost is predicted to be $27.5 billion of revenue loss in North America alone with major companies like Google and twitter losing millions of dollars every week (M. L. Rahman, pp. 38-47). The chart below shows that 70% of downtime, revenue losses in North America were as a result of power outage, 20% as a result of floods and 10% as a result of human error.
The second reason why an organization needs a disaster recovery plan is because the prospects and customers expect it. In a perpetual business world customers will always look forward to having around the clock services. Any event of a downtime means a lack access to customer leading to company revenue losses and can lead to non-ending results like customer defection.
Mother Nature does not perform favorably. Disasters like floods, earthquake and tsunami have cost the world economy over 2.5 trillion dollars since 2000 according to the World Bank report (Baruch, pp.46-47). Similarly, the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in the year 2011 has its effects up to date, companies are still struggling to recover from that tragedy. The basic point is it is hard to tell when it is going to happen. A data recovery plan may prove efficient in times like these.
Hardware and machine will always fail. There is no single person that is resistant to the internet and hard disk connection breakdown. It is also common that most people have had their computers crash before they could save an important file. However costly it may be for a company to do away with internet breakdown in a given IT framework, putting in place disaster recovery plan ensures that the risk that caused the internet or hard disk breakdown does not interfere with the daily operation of the business. Google transparency report 2016 show that people in more than 30 countries are unable to access Google product and services in a particular time due to machine breakdown and network disruption (Google responds to report on Android security, pp.8-13). The report further showed that in the year 2016 countries like Ethiopia and Congo were not connected to Google services for duration of 3 days due to network disruption.
Although different from machines, humans also have their share in the downtime associated losses. Human is to error. However cautious a person may be sometimes mistakes like saving the wrong data or deleting an important file are inevitable. Such faults are common and are the solid to rectify. According to the research collected by an information commission office (ICO) in the UK, a human oriented error causes more data loss than malicious attack. ICO proved that a 62% of data loss was as a result of human error and malicious attack such as hacking and insecure web page standing at 9%. Human error has also led to data breaching. For example, a person may send data or information to the wrong person (ICO report warns pharmacies about data protection breaches, 2017).
It is important for an organization to know and evaluate the risks, threats and the basic assets involved before formulating a disaster recovery plan. This can be done by brainstorming the basic risk associated with all the assets in the organization and understanding standby loss associated with the assets. An organization can include assets like document and files from the local area, product specifications and designs, valuables and cash and so on. Notably, when evaluating the threat an organization needs to consider geographical diversity. For instance, a company based in a single location does not have to worry about earthquake as a threat, but it needs to worry more of a terrorist attack.
The second process of creating and implementing a disaster recovery plan is by regulating recovery window. After evaluating the threat and understanding the asset involved, an organization needs to put into knowledge the time they can survive off the reach of the resources. Similarly, the recovery process can be difficult if the information technology assets can be out of reach for a few days against the urge of being functional within a few hours. An organization must always make sure that the recovery team is easily accessed and the equipment is in reach. Also, it is vital for the recovery team to work under clear instructions and arrangement. This will ensure the exercise is in the proper steps and value.
The third process is to define recovery solutions. Here the company needs to acknowledge the correct solutions and the methods linked with the recovery window and the assets. The solution can consider data uploading to an off-site location or recovery from tape or disk backup. Protection level and type of protection is determined by the value of the assets to the company and the period the company can survive without the assets. This can be hard for an electronic commerce web page because it is client facing and it also dictates possibly data and co-location replication. Based on the recovery window and defined value each asset can have its correct recovery results acknowledged to compatible budget that outlines back to the organization impact and value.
Process number 4 is drafting a disaster recovery plan. Here other than addressing the key assets and how they are covered the plan should also consider communication related features. Also the ways of minimizing further damage and access to the damaged site need to be put into consideration. The organization management ought to consider the means of getting the recovery team to the recovery site and also consider the possibility if they cannot get to the recovery site. Importantly, all recovery team ought to set up an emergency operations center where the people responsible can have easy access to vital resources and decision making force.
Establishing a communication plan and directing roles are also important in disaster recovery plan. The recovery team should be able to understand the chain of communication as well as knowing their leader, the organization also needs to formulate ways to communicate with their customers and also understand the recovery team that is responsible for the recovery operations.
Setting up a disaster recovery site also is vital to disaster recovery planning. Having considered e above five procedures, here is the appliance of the formality needed to deliver the plan. Typically, this will involve the acknowledgment of recovery sites and data center where facilities are present to deal with the situation. The next steps are access the data, document, test the data recovery plan and clarify and re-test the plan.
It is proven that a proper planning and appropriate steps in disaster recovery can save revenue and also reduce the possibility of a business shutting down due to loss of important company data. A proper recovery plan aids an organization react responsibly in an event of risk. The key aim of a disaster recovery plan is to minimize losses and to utilize recovery time. Natural disasters are inevitable; however, the only way to overcome and stay in business after the occurrence of the disaster is to have a proper back up plan.
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