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President/CEO of Centex Technologies, an IT consulting company with offices in Central Texas, Dallas, Austin and Atlanta.
Data is one of the most important assets for many organizations. A significant level of care should be given to prevent data security incidents. However, despite the best plans and intentions, both man-made and natural disasters can occur at any time. The best course of action is to prepare in advance, ensuring that your enterprise has a well-developed disaster recovery plan in place to deal with potential occurrences.
The best disaster recovery plans are prepared with a logical knowledge of your environment. An organization that thoroughly evaluates possible threats, vulnerabilities and probabilities of a disaster can help ensure a more cohesive and cost-effective recovery plan.
To get started, you should identify the critical assets that you’ll need to protect in the case of a disaster. The corresponding vulnerabilities and potential threats should be assessed and preferably quantified. Based on the probability of a disaster occurring, the risk can be quantified as well. Then, your organization can build a recovery plan that prioritizes assets that meet a calculated risk threshold. Note that data recovery is the primary asset for most information security disaster planning, so make it a priority.
Other important aspects to consider in a disaster recovery plan are your recovery time objective and your recovery point objective. A recovery time objective focuses on how soon data can be restored following a disaster. A recovery point objective lays out what kind of data will be prioritized as it is being returned. Both of these aspects are important because they dictate the resources and costs involved in your plan.
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Once your organization has thoroughly assessed and prioritized your information security needs, you will need to decide who will execute the plan: you or a third-party cloud service provider. Organizations need to remember that keeping information security protocols in-house could mean dedicating resources and rehearsing data security protocols for an event that might never happen. It can also be challenging due to a lack of expertise in disaster recovery measures, unlike third-party cloud service providers who are well-equipped.
On the other hand, maintaining full control of your own data might be appealing to some organizations. In the light of these considerations, your organization will ultimately need to choose between the more cost-effective and hands-off third-party approach or the ability to maintain the responsibility, costs and security of your own disaster recovery measures.
Companies that opt to use a third-party cloud service provider will still need to maintain the responsibility of formulating a disaster recovery plan through their vendor of choice. This plan should include details like when and under what circumstances to invoke the disaster recovery plan, who should approve it, how to determine the effectiveness of your protocols and how to return to normal following the disaster.
Disaster recovery planning is an important aspect of business continuity and sustained productivity. No one can guarantee that disasters will not occur, and businesses should be ready to face disasters with deliberate planning. A well-prepared disaster recovery plan or third-party vendor support can help ensure peace of mind, while simultaneously keeping your data safe.