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Disaster recovery plans, continuity take center stage in 2018

Were you worried about your DR plan in 2018? You're far from alone. Preparation for ransomware and natural disaster threats loomed over the heads of DR planners in the past year.

In 2018, disaster recovery weighed heavily on the minds of IT pros, and it's easy to see why. From destructive...

weather events to well-publicized security breaches and ransomware attacks, disaster in all industries seemed imminent. On the one hand, it's no fun to stress out about potential failures. But on the other, organizations seem to put more emphasis on their disaster recovery plans than ever.

Business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) was at the center of planning for many, as maintaining continuity and reducing downtime has never been more important. The acceptable amount of downtime has quickly become zero downtime, so the ability to recover quickly and efficiently is a DR priority. The methods of achieving this vary, but it's clear that BC/DR planning was a concern for organizations of all sizes, in all industries.

Below, we've compiled the top expert tips on disaster recovery in 2018. Along with major concerns such as BC/DR, readers had a vested interest in improving general disaster recovery plans, responding to ransomware attacks and protecting vital assets.

BC/DR: Planning and execution

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning were of great interest in 2018, which should surprise absolutely no one. From natural disasters to power outages, there was no small number of continuity threats on the horizon. Luckily, there was something to be gained from these disasters. By examining how organizations were able (or unable) to recover following these events, you can take those steps into account when updating your disaster recovery plans.

In this tip, we honed in on two major disasters: The California wildfires and the Atlanta airport outage. By examining what went right and what went wrong in those disaster recovery plans, you can see if you need to make changes.

What if your BC/DR plan fails?

Unfortunately, all the preparation in the world doesn't erase the sad truth: Your BC/DR plans might not work. Every organization has different needs and disasters can be unpredictable. Maybe you're prepared with a backup generator in case power goes out. But did management get fuel for the generator? No? Is there fuel readily available? It's not? In these frustrating cases, rather than lament the state of your organization, you need to get back on your feet and get things up and running again.

Unfortunately, all of the preparation in the world doesn't erase the sad truth: Your BC/DR plans might not work.

By approaching disaster recovery planning from the position of having already failed, you can prepare more thoroughly for disaster than if you were simply taking preventative measures.

How to protect and recover vital assets

As in the previous tip, this article approaches DR planning from the post-disaster, recovery standpoint. Recovering vital data following an outage or failure is no easy task and requires its own preparation and planning process. Recovering crucial data must not only be done quickly, but completely. If you don't check the integrity of the recovered data, all your efforts might go to waste.

Crafting a malware response plan

Malware and ransomware have posed major pains in the neck to DR planners over the past year. Do you have a malware response and recovery plan in place? If not, it's worth it to take a look at what makes a solid malware response plan and what steps you can take to recover data and block further cyberattack access. Rather than have to suffer through a malware attack and rework your security and disaster recovery plans then, face the threat head on now and take preventative measures.

How to design an optimal IT DR plan

Crafting a well-designed disaster recovery plan may seem overwhelming, and that's understandable. Many potential threats are out there and every organization has different factors to consider. Luckily, there are experts to break this process down. In this tip, we go over 10 general steps organizations should follow to create solid disaster recovery plans. Make no mistake, these are not simple tasks. However, by breaking down the complex DR planning process, you can tackle one element at a time and consider all sides of the equation.

From establishing communications to conducting tests of the plan, the steps contained in this popular tip should give you a head start on your DR planning operations.

This was last published in December 2018

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