All organizations, no matter how prepared they are, and the strength of their underlying IT operations, are always susceptible to risk. Unexpected situations can always happen where operations are impacted, and profitability takes a nosedive. In fact, according to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN)’s India Ransomware Report for 2022, there has been a 53% increase in the number of ransomware attacks in several sectors, including critical infrastructure. The risk of IT system failures because of natural disasters, again for example, can have serious consequences, ranging from financial losses to reputational damage, or even both! This is why having a robust IT disaster recovery plan is a critical necessity to ensure business resilience, no matter how crushing the calamity.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

An IT disaster recovery plan is an official document created by an organization that clearly and specifically outlines how to respond in the wake of unplanned incidents. This can be natural disasters, cyberattacks, power outages or any other such disruptive event. This plan should ideally contain strategies to minimize the consequences of any disaster, so that the business can resume key operations as quickly as possible. The key point to be noted here is swift recovery because the longer the recovery time, the greater the business impact. What may start off as lost revenue can quickly snowball into damage to brand reputation and dissatisfied customers/shareholders. So, for any IT disaster recovery plan, return to standard programming must be quick, regardless of the source of the disruption.

The Essentials of Disaster Recovery Planning

A disaster recovery plan is not as broad as compared to a business continuity plan. It may not encompass all potential scenarios for business processes, assets, human resources, and business partners.

An effective disaster recovery solution typically addresses various forms of operational disruptions. It cannot assume that only major natural or man-made disasters renders a location inaccessible. Disruptions may also include power outages, network failures, temporary loss of facilities access due to bomb threats, or non-destructive incidents such as floods. It must also provide clear instructions in case of a "possible fire". The plan should be categorized by disaster type and location and must feature executable scripts that any staff member should be able to implement.

Additionally, another worrying trend is the increasing sophistication of cyber threats. In some instances, due to the lack of a comprehensive IT disaster recovery plan, cyberattacks remain undetected for extended periods, sometimes even exceeding half a year. During this time, attackers can implant malware into backup systems, which can in turn contaminate even recovery data. Dormant attacks like these can persist for weeks or months, facilitating malware spread across the network. This is even worse, because detecting and removing pervasive malware post-attack is quite challenging, once it has spread across the organization.

Clearing the Basics: How is a DR Plan different from a Business Continuity Plan?

In the context of safeguarding an organization, there are two terms business continuity and disaster recovery that are often used interchangeably. Both are plans that are put in place by an organization if a disaster was ever to occur. However, there are some critical differences between the two, which is explained below:

Key Issue Business Continuity Plan Disaster Recovery Plan
Organizational Focus Ensuring that the business is operational during a disaster and keeping all disruptions to a minimum, as much as possible Limiting system failures and restoring systems to the pre-disaster state as quickly as possible
Scope Includes all the business functions that help keep the organization running Focuses on IT systems and data storage
When to Start As soon as the organization learns about the critical situation After the disaster, like a post-incident response. The initial stages of the BCP should already have finished.
When to End When business operations are back to normal at the end of the disaster. When it is sure that IT systems and infra are back to their pre-disaster state
Analysis / Assessment All potential risks that can realistically affect business operations negatively. All potential risks to IT systems and data.


Now that you know the business continuity and disaster recovery plans, we recommend having both to ensure you have a well-rounded defense mechanism against any disruption.

The Objective of a Disaster Recovery Plan

The aim of a disaster recovery plan (DRP) is to enable an organization to effectively resolve a disruption or emergency after it has happened. The focus here is to resolve the impact on its information systems, recover any lost data, and get the business up and running as soon as possible, thus mitigating the impact on business operations. Depending on the organization, enterprise disaster recovery plans may vary in breadth, ranging from simple to extensive. The following are typical key components of an IT disaster recovery plan (DRP) checklist:

  • Identification of critical systems and networks covered by the plan.
  • Assignment of responsible staff members for managing these systems and networks during recovery.
  • Definition of Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) to set recovery goals.
  • Documentation of steps required to restart, reconfigure, and recover systems and networks.
  • Inclusion of other emergency procedures necessary in case of unforeseen incidents.

The location of a disaster recovery site also carries significant value when it comes to creating an IT disaster recovery plan. It's all about the distance between the DR site and the organization's primary data center. Ideally, the DR site should be in an off-site location that is close to the primary data center. However, no organization knows what's coming their way. The next power outage may be so broad that it affects several regions at once. In such a scenario, if the primary data center and its DR site close, both might be destroyed. This is why it’s an even better idea to have the DR site further away from the primary data centre so that businesses can protect themselves from the above scenario.

How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan

Creating an enterprise disaster recovery plan is more than just writing the document, no matter how exhaustive it might become. Here's a structured approach for creating one:

Establishing the Scope of Recovery: This involves determining the extent of the disaster recovery plan and deciding which systems, processes, and assets will be included.

Gathering Relevant Network Infrastructure Documents: Collecting documentation related to the organization's network infrastructure, which is essential for understanding how systems are interconnected and how data flows.

Identifying Threats and Vulnerabilities: Here, the organization assesses potential risks that could disrupt operations, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, or hardware failures. They then identify weaknesses in existing systems (if any).

Reviewing History of Incidents: Essentially, learning from the past. The organization examines past unplanned incidents or outages to understand how they were handled. This is an opportunity to identify areas for improvement in the disaster recovery plan.

Identifying Current DR Procedures and Strategies: A relatively easy step, this involves documenting existing disaster recovery procedures and strategies that are already in place within the organization.

Identifying Incident Response Team: Assembling a team responsible for implementing the disaster recovery plan and responding to incidents as they occur.

Management Review and Approval: Seeking approval from management for the disaster recovery plan to ensure alignment with organizational goals and priorities.

Testing the Plan: Conducting regular tests and drills to validate the effectiveness of the disaster recovery plan and identify any weaknesses or areas for improvement.

Updating the Plan: Periodically reviewing and updating the disaster recovery plan to account for changes in technology, infrastructure, or business processes.

Implementing an Audit: Here, the team performs audits of the disaster recovery plan to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. It's also a way to check the readiness of an organization if a potential disaster or emergency were to strike the very next day.

For any business, the most efficient DRaaS solution would be the one that suits their specific needs. Factors like budget, size of operations, pricing policies are worth considering before finalizing your DRaaS solution provider. After all, you would want only the best to shield you in any circumstance.

Cloud4C Implementing DRaaS Solutions Tailored for You

If you're looking for a disaster recovery solution that's tailored to your business objectives and size of operations, Cloud4C's Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution is your best bet.

Our industry-leading automation-driven approach ensures highly low RPO/RTO, guaranteeing rapid recovery with minimal data loss. With automated backups and recovery, integrated security, and compatibility across any cloud or landscape, we offer peace of mind for businesses of any size. Our experts have extensive experience managing AWS, Azure, GCP, and Oracle engineered systems, coupled with AIOps-powered Managed Operations. From rapid implementation to 24/7 monitoring, organizations can trust Cloud4C for an end-to-end managed DR setup with zero data-loss and down time. If that’s something your business is interested in, talk to our experts today!

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Team Cloud4C
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Team Cloud4C

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