Data is a valuable asset that is constantly under threat. Human errors, ransomware attacks, and data breaches all have the capacity to destroy data in a matter of minutes.
And these threats are only increasing: a recent study showed that a staggering 21% of all reported ransomware attacks happened in the last year, leaving those without proper recovery plans exposed to data and profit losses.1
Disaster recovery planning (DRP) is a proactive approach towards security that allows companies to prepare and mitigate the impacts of a disaster. A disaster recovery plan helps companies maintain business continuity (BC) after an incident, reducing business downtime, reputational damage, and the potential for regulatory action.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at the various benefits DRP can offer.
Suggested reading: Check out our cloud disaster recovery software guide for an in-depth exploration of a range of disaster recovery solutions.
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Benefit 1: Satisfy customers
Businesses that are the custodians of data – especially personal data – have the responsibility to protect it. As a result, when data breaches occur, they often come with client losses and reputational damage.
Perhaps the most famous example of this is Uber’s 2016 data breach, which exposed the data of millions of users and led to a 141.3% drop in consumer perception.2 Meanwhile, Facebook’s 2018 data breach caused a $13 billion loss of share value that left users and shareholders alike uncertain as to the company’s future.3
Other than investing in new data protection solutions, a DRP is one of the most effective ways to mitigate client loss following a data breach. A strong DRP will include two primary objectives:
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO): the maximum quantity of data a business can tolerate losing.
- Recovery Time Objectives (RTO): the time window in which a company must restore functions to avoid catastrophic disruption.
DRPs with clear RPOs and RTOs allow customers to see how a company is working to protect their data, reassuring potential customers, existing clients and shareholders that their data is well protected.
And the benefits of disaster recovery planning don’t stop there; DRPs can help businesses win clients in the first place. It’s not uncommon for B2B clients to request details of their prospective partner’s IT credentials, including regarding their DRP.
Benefit 2: Actionable insights
Developing a DRP is not an overnight process. It often involves extensive fact-finding and analysis, as companies seek to learn more about their own systems.
Any opportunity for businesses to look at their systems and processes and retrieve insights is potentially useful. DRP might involve analysing some of the following technical and non-technical areas:
- Internal communications
- External relationships
- Compliance requirements
- Data storage systems
- Insurance coverage
- IT budgets
Regularly checking over a company’s digital infrastructure allows security professionals to locate weaknesses within their systems, and help prevent data breaches before they occur. Similarly, evaluating existing DRPs can allow businesses to optimise their RPOs and RTOs and improve outcomes in the case of data loss.
Data recovery planning shouldn’t replace the need to build fast, efficient and resilient systems. However, it can certainly help to enhance and improve systems that are already in place.
Benefit 3: Fast recovery
Today’s fast-paced digital environment necessitates fast recovery. The cost of IT downtime can reach thousands of dollars per minute for large enterprises, meaning that time is quite literally money — and a lot of it.4
Companies without DRPs may suffer significant damage from breaches or attacks. Minor breaches may escalate into catastrophic losses that blow RPOs out of the water, and valuable time will be wasted formulating plans and reassuring customers. The result? More downtime, stagnating business operations, missed RTOs, and greater overall losses.
Having a strong security system is a good way to reduce the risk of IT downtime. However, even the most resilient of systems can suffer IT disasters. Implementing a DRP enables companies to improve their recovery times, putting them in a better position to bounce back after an incident.
Benefit 4: Reduce costs
Although fast recovery is important, the costs of a disaster extend far beyond system downtime. Customer loss, extra staff hours, and long-term reputational damage can make disaster recovery incredibly difficult.
In fact, some 1 in 8 small businesses never recover from a cyber attack, while 60% of all companies that suffer a data breach undergo bankruptcy within six months.5 And the risk is even higher for businesses storing sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII). Sometimes, the cost of expensive regulatory investigations is the final nail in the coffin.
With the price of data loss being so high, many companies choose to proactively invest in the smaller cost of DRP. The cost of DRP is largely down to the time that it demands, which is devoted to performing vulnerability assessments, business impact analysis (BIA), developing subplans, initial testing, and ongoing maintenance.
Each of these steps take some time and attention, but are essential to improving a company’s disaster response capabilities. For many, the benefits of disaster recovery planning outweigh its initial costs.
Benefit 5: Minimise damage
Reputational damage perhaps exceeds every other kind of damage in its impact. From reduced customer retention to lower client onboarding levels, the long-term reputational impact of data loss can be significant.
One 2019 survey suggested that 41% of consumers would never return to a business following a data breach.6 However, small businesses are typically hit the hardest, as customers are able to easily switch to larger competitors. The benefits of a disaster recovery plan are, therefore, invaluable.
A DR plan can help to minimise the impact on customers in a number of ways:
- Increases data protection: IT professionals become aware of the weaknesses of their infrastructure, and can implement the appropriate security measures.
- Reduces data loss: with strong protection measures in place, RPOs are reduced and responses are faster.
- Maintains business continuity: although companies with data recovery plans might still suffer downtime, they will be better equipped to quickly get back on their feet after a breach.
DRP grants businesses a valuable opportunity to minimise the damage when disaster strikes, regardless of the cause.
Suggested reading: Read our business continuity plan for the pandemic to learn about how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted BC and DR planning.
Benefit 6: Enhance security
Being data secure is top of the agenda for many CTOs, data protection officers and IT managers. DRP forms a vital component of any cyber security or IT strategy, and is required to meet many IT security benchmarks.7
Disaster recovery planning solutions vary from business to business, with data-intensive businesses generally favouring Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and cloud disaster recovery solutions. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, might develop low-cost internal strategies that focus on employee actions and individual responsibility.
Where all businesses can agree is that DRP should enhance and improve existing systems, decreasing the likelihood of ransomware attacks and breaches.
DRPs can enhance security by:
- Helping companies locate and remove unnecessary tools which increase the surface area for attacks.
- Providing insight into system weaknesses that require additional security.
- Helping companies prioritise data and store it according to its importance.
Benefit 7: Long-term growth
DRP is a vital part of ensuring growth and stability in the long run. Data recovery planning helps businesses understand what changes they might need to make to their systems, promoting constant development and improvement.
When creating a data recovery plan, many businesses find that their biggest weakness is their old hardware. On-premises backup and recovery hardware pose a few issues:
- Hardware requires lengthy regular backups, using valuable time and resources.
- Slower backup cycles mean greater exposure to risk.
- On-premises hardware can’t always be readily integrated into cloud environments, siloing data across multiple platforms.
- Without additional backups, on-premises hardware is vulnerable to geographic hazards.
Having a data recovery plan might entail replacing old backup and recovery hardware with modern alternatives, such as cloud solutions. Although this is by no means a necessary part of DRP, it is just one example of how the self-evaluation that DRP demands can improve prospects for long-term growth.
Moving towards modern, scalable and adaptable software-led DRP models provides a strong platform for growth and resilience.
Suggested reading: Discover the cloud disaster recovery best practices that could transform your disaster recovery planning.
What will your disaster recovery plan look like?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to data recovery planning. Companies can choose to use DRaaS, BaaS, VM replicas, data centre recovery and various cloud-based solutions, as well as more straightforward protocol-led plans.
The many ways to go about DRP can be overwhelming, which is where managed IT service providers can help. Nexstor works with businesses to understand their business model, objectives, technologies, and current DRP systems.
We build bespoke DRP solutions that support your business’s unique needs and requirements. Contact us today to discover what your cutting-edge disaster recovery plan could look like.
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