The Importance Of Planning A Post-Covid Disaster Recovery Plan
By Tim Burrows, Account Sales Representative
August 31, 2021
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) was important before the Covid crisis that arrived in 2020. Most companies had someone focused on building and maintaining a BCP, but how many enterprises do you know that had a disaster recovery plan including options for managing a global pandemic where all employees would be in lockdown and unable to visit their own office?
I tried searching to find examples of companies that had anticipated the Covid pandemic – most of the results just talked about insurance companies refusing to pay out on business continuity insurance as a pandemic wasn’t included in the small print. The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon is one of the only examples I can find of a business that actively prepared for 2020 – they remembered the chaos caused by SARS over a decade earlier and sought global pandemic insurance – that paid off for the Wimbledon championship in 2020!
So how can a disaster recovery plan be redesigned to include the potential for any future crisis that involves dramatic actions such as lockdowns again?
First, you need to appreciate what should be in any well-structured disaster recovery plan. It should list the various types of disaster or disruption and then offer a structured pathway to a recovery from each one. If you already have a well structured disaster recovery plan that describes issues such as communication failure, a building disaster, a public transport strike etc, then you are already well placed to just include an additional pathway describing how to manage remote workers securely.
If your disaster recovery plan is incomplete or has not been reviewed for a long time – or it doesn’t really even exist – then these steps outlined in CIO Insight can help you to quickly improve the situation:
- Identify interconnected resources: where are the bottle-necks, especially when quick decision-making will be required in a difficult situation?
- Assess vulnerabilities: your infrastructure is only as secure as the weakest link – try to identify what might be a problem in advance of it happening.
- Determine the impact of a disaster: consider the effect of different types of disaster. A massive data breach is different to an earthquake, so consider how each type of problem may impact the business.
- Develop a short-term plan: for each possible scenario, create a step by step plan for the immediate days after a disaster.
- Develop a long-term plan: Enhance that plan so it goes from immediate recovery to a complete return to normal.
- Test the disaster recovery plan: simulate each possible disaster as best as possible – Covid has demonstrated that anything can happen!
Even when building this plan, it may also be worth exploring disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). This is a cloud-based approach to building a disaster recovery plan that ensures you work in partnership with your cloud host for most of these disaster recovery situations. A real-time mirror of all your applications and data could make recovery much easier.
By building infrastructure in the cloud and designing a disaster recovery plan in partnership with your cloud host it should be possible to accelerate many of the pathways to a full recovery. Imagine how many companies could have transitioned easily to a work-from-home environment in 2020 if they had already planned for a situation where their employees could not work from the office?
A Disaster Recovery Plan has always been an important strategic tool and many companies have been saved from dangerous situations by planning in advance. Only a minority of companies were ready for this global pandemic so now is probably a good time to sit down with your team to review exactly what protection your existing disaster recovery plan is offering.
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