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Disaster Recovery Strategy: 4 Steps To Prepare For A Crisis

outsourcing

Digitization and digital transformation are just some of the buzzwords in the business world nowadays. It seems that all businesses are busy transforming their companies into sales machines that can promote and sell their products online. But the hidden weakness of this is that more companies have become vulnerable to IT crises or disasters without even knowing it.

Suppose you’re looking for ways to improve your company’s preparedness for any potential risks to your IT system, infrastructure, and network. In that case, you might want to outsource IT services instead of the stress of managing everything in-house.

Outsource Your IT?

There are many IT outsourcing providers, both local and offshore. To look at how it may work for your business, see Netsurit’s managed IT service costs blog post. IT service providers have different pricing models, including a fee per number of users per month, a flat fee or a tiered model. Online searches are sure to reveal statistics presenting savings as the motivator for outsourcing just about everything, including IT!

Manage Your Own IT Disaster Recovery Strategy

Outsourcing is still not the preferred option for every business. If you’re keen to keep your IT systems in-house, here are a few suggested steps to prepare for a crisis by mapping out a sound disaster recovery strategy.

1. Assess Risks And Threats To Your IT System

The first step that any business or company takes to prepare for a crisis is to assess the risks to your IT system, infrastructure, and network, including cloud security threats to your backup resources. To prepare for any disaster or crisis, you’ll have to assess your company’s IT system using the four critical components of an IT risk assessment.

Here are the four key IT components.

Threat

A threat in IT refers to anything that could cause harm or damage to your IT network, resources, assets, and capabilities. A threat could be physical such as possible flooding in downtown New York, a tornado, or a hurricane in the other states. It could be an ordinary incident like a fire.

Vulnerability

A vulnerability refers to a weakness in various aspects of your IT system network, security, assets, resources, capabilities, applications, etc. When a potential risk can breach a vulnerability, the result could be massive damage to a company’s IT network.

Impact

The impact or effect refers to the potential or actual damage that a threat causes to its IT system and network if it breaches any vulnerability.

Likelihood

Likelihood refers to the assessment of IT experts as to how probable a threat would breach or damage your IT network’s vulnerabilities.

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2. Develop A Risk Management Plan To Address Vulnerabilities

risk

When you’ve already mapped out the various threats and vulnerabilities to your IT system, infrastructure, and network, you should develop a plan to address the potential threats and close the vulnerabilities that you identified.

Your risk management should cover all three phases of a potential disaster or crisis:

Risk Prevention And Mitigation

Your plan should include measures and strategies that increase your company’s capability to prevent potential risks and threats from breaching vulnerabilities.

Risk Remediation And Emergency Action Plan

Your plan should also include measures to remediate the risks if the threats breach the vulnerabilities. It should also have an emergency action plan on managing different scenarios in case of damage and negative impact.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Your plan should also include measures and strategies for managing the different scenarios and steering the company’s IT system, infrastructure, and network back to the course of recovery and normalization.

3. Develop Measures To Address IT Vulnerabilities

Here are the various aspects of your IT system, network, and infrastructure, which you should be able to manage in case of breach or damage:

Physical Security

Your risk management and disaster recovery plan should identify all aspects of physical security which are vulnerable to threats. Examples of threats to the physical security of your IT system are natural disasters, wars, armed conflict, criminal activities, burglary and break-ins, unauthorized physical access, among others.

Suppose your servers and mainframes, for example, are located in a place that is a flood-prone county or city or in a county that has a history of strong earthquakes. In that case, you should consider setting up backup servers in a place less vulnerable to natural disasters. Another option would be to opt for cloud servers and infrastructure as your backup solution.

Network Security

Of course, another aspect of your IT security is your network security and infrastructure. With the rise and persistence of hacking and breaches on the internet, IT systems are quite vulnerable and susceptible to intentional hacking by unscrupulous individuals and organizations. Several American multinational companies have already experienced being hacked with data breaches amounting to millions of dollars in losses.

Keep in mind that everything on the internet is interconnected. Computer geniuses would have a way of getting into your computer, sometimes even if you could set up your firewalls and other defenses. Your risk management plan should include strategies and measures to isolate high-value and highly confidential sectors and files of your IT system, infrastructure, and network.

Policy And Administrative Controls

These controls are intended to manage the potential risks from breaches and incidents caused by unauthorized access. Examples of these are when employees don’t have the appropriate level of authorization to access specific servers, folders, or files. Some of the most controversial hacking incidents in the world required the aid of insiders who set up the hardware and software which gave access to the hackers operating from a remote location.

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For instance, in one bank hacking and money laundering heist, the insiders set up the printer and photocopier as the access point of the hackers operating remotely. This could have been prevented by policy and administrative controls.

When unauthorized personnel access areas of your office, or servers, folders, and files in your database, which they’re not permitted to do so, you should conduct a review right away. Even though the activity seemed harmless, you should check your network security for any risk or potential breach, especially if the red flags are there.

Technical Security Controls

Improve your technical security controls by implementing multiple security clearances and authentication technology.

The network security monitoring team should log and monitor access to highly-confidential servers, folders, and files for any unusual activities. You should also train your employees to prevent unauthorized access to their user accounts.

4. Run A Simulation Of Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Ask your MSP IT to conduct a simulation run of your risk management and disaster recovery plan. This will do a lot of good to your IT system, infrastructure, and network. For one, it will give your employees and teams a more vivid picture and experience of how things would be like if the vulnerabilities identified in your assessment do result in negative impacts and damages.

Suppose you can identify specific gaps and weaknesses in your risk management and disaster recovery plan. In that case, you should ask your MSP IT to develop and implement the needed changes to plug the holes and loopholes. You should also test your data back, recovery, and restoration measures and protocols.

Conclusion

The shift of numerous businesses to the digital space brings additional risks and threats to the already existing vulnerabilities of IT systems, infrastructure, and networks. Every company should thus have a risk management and disaster recovery plan. Businesses can identify these risks and threats by conducting an honest-to-goodness IT network security assessment.