How to survive a digital disaster? Disaster Recovery 101
How to survive a digital disaster? Disaster Recovery 101

An easy recipe for disaster? The lack of the Disaster Recovery Plan. We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for obstacles that might be thrown our way, especially in the digital world. Damage control might be the only thing standing between life or death of your business. Disasters can be as costly as the time of your reaction and numbers speak for themselves: according to Datto, the hourly cost of downtime can range from $10,000 to over $5 million depending on the size of the organization. Research conducted by Statista in 2019 that 86% of all surveyed lost over $300,000 for every hour server was down, with 25% losing between $301,000 and $400,000. To put things into perspective, only 2% of organizations recovered from a site outage within an hour.  What is very important is that downtime is not even the most dangerous cyber threat businesses face: data breaches are. In the era of digital kingdoms, “just” a data breach is lethal enough to destroy a business. Back in 2018, Datacore reported that 58% of all data breaches were due to malware and viruses, and 19% of organizations had a security breach within the last 12 months. Many think that threats to cybersecurity involve only the biggest companies, the industry’s giants who have enough funds to prepare for any cyberattack, but it could not be further from the truth. According to Verizon, 43% of breaches involved small business victims. Disasters can happen to any business, which is why it is crucial to quickly start Disaster Recovery and have a prepared Disaster Recovery Plan to speed up the time of reaction. With no disaster recovery plan, it is easy to join ranks of 43% companies, which go out of business after a major data loss. What is actually Disaster Recovery? How to implement it in your business plan? Let us dive into the world of Disaster Recovery, where one’s chances for success and immunity to lethal disasters magically double. Reportedly, lack of trust translates to $2,5 trillion lost by global brands every year.

Disaster Recovery 101

Made of policies, tools, and procedures designed to get a business back on its feet after a natural disaster or technological failure, Disaster Recovery is an important element in business continuity planning. Disasters to prepare for include anything from national and data center disasters to security breaches, downtime, and data loss. A disaster recovery plan has to be tailored to companies and their needs, so it is crucial to decide which applications are essential for a business to operate and determine the recovery time objective (RTO), or the time that a business can be down without irreversible damage done. A strategy for Disaster Recovery depends on such factors as budget, compliance requirements, technology, and resources, and potential losses should be measured not only in terms of money, but also the reputation and lost trust costs. Tarnished reputation takes longer to recover than business revenue. What are a few of major Disaster Recovery plans? 

Choose your weapons, or types of Disaster Recovery Plans

Disaster Recovery should be designed to address potential losses regarding data centers (security and backup power supply in computer rooms), connectivity (quality and state of fiber, cables, wireless connection), software, hardware, and data itself (risk of data breaches). Depending on one’s environment, we can talk about various Disaster Recovery plans, such as:

  1. Virtualized disaster recovery plan – with the help of a virtual machine (VM), it is possible to provide application recovery and accelerate the speed of the recovery time. 
  1. Cloud disaster recovery plan – ranging from a file backup to a complete cloud replication, Cloud disaster recovery is a popular way to prevent data loss. It is a cost-efficient solution but requires constant supervision: the company should know the location of physical and virtual servers, and maximize cybersecurity. Although cloud storage minimizes the risk of data loss, it may increase the risk of data breaches, if certain security measures are not taken. 
  1. Datacenter disaster recovery plan – connected mainly with the IT infrastructure itself, data center disaster recovery plan focuses on the operational risk, such as power systems and security of the datacenter, alongside with its location. It is especially important in the areas, where the risk of natural disasters is high. 
  1. Network disaster recovery plan – a detailed step-by-step procedure to follow in case of network failure is essential for Disaster Recovery. A network disaster recovery plan includes anything from appointing people responsible for network disaster recovery to determining the possible outcome of a network failure. Regular back up of network configuration files and identifying weak spots in the network infrastructure can ensure a successful network disaster recovery.

Ingredients for successful Disaster Recovery Planning

A powerful Disaster Recovery Plan leaves nothing to chance, taking into consideration every disaster scenario. Disaster Recovery Planning has to be continuously updated and tested, as new threats to business continuity emerge, especially in terms of cybersecurity. With the rising importance of data security and transparency, a failure to protect your data can lead to financial losses, legal consequences, and a tarnished reputation. What are the essential steps in the successful Disaster Recovery Planning? 

  1. Creating a team responsible for Disaster Recovery

All employees should be aware of a company’s procedures regarding Disaster Recovery, but there should be people responsible for certain aspects of the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), from security measures to testing and updating.


  1. Determining the scope of recovery 

Specifying necessary actions and measures to take is the essential element of every DRP. How will you protect your data during the disaster? What kind of threats do you have to protect yourself against? How much data can you lose without fatal consequences? These are all essential questions to ask in order to establish Disaster Recovery goals. 

  1. Gathering necessary documents and resources 

Network infrastructure documents, financial statements, customer lists, lists of employees, and contacts to people who are responsible for your data center, or cloud, have to be prepared in case of an emergency. It significantly boosts your reaction time and helps to meet the recovery time objective (RTO).

  1. Reviewing the system’s weak spots based on the previous disaster history 

The history of previous security failures and outages helps to identify the most serious threats and the system’s weaknesses that need to be addressed. 

  1. Specifying the Disaster Recovery procedures 

Clear thinking can be difficult in times of crisis, so a Disaster Recovery team needs a clear outline of Disaster Recovery procedures to go through. What data should be backed up? How to communicate with customers in case of a disaster? All important issues should be addressed, so the team can and knows how to take immediate action if needed. 

  1. Constant testing and updating of the Disaster Recovery Plan 

Disaster Recovery Plan should be regularly tested and updated, as new challenges and threats emerge with the development of technology. Disaster Recovery Audits should be performed at least once a year. 

All things considered, Disaster Recovery is your best friend and can prepare you for threats and challenges of the modern, digitalized world. You cannot predict disasters, but with the right damage control, you can minimize their effect. According to PhoenixNap, 93% of companies with no Disaster Recovery Plan in place go out of business within a year after a major data disaster. In comparison, 96% of companies with a Disaster Recovery Plan fully recover in the same situation. Good preparation is the key to survival, be it in the actual or virtual reality. Make money, not business mistakes, and put your Disaster Recovery Plan in place! 

Learn More