Disaster recovery planning is a crucial and irreplaceable part of crisis planning that can help businesses continue their operations unaffected by cyber attacks or other disruptions.
With the advances in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things (IoT) environments, including other developments, businesses depend on digital networks and applications to continue their core operations.
As there has been a significant uptick in customers who prefer shopping and engaging online in the last few years, businesses need to be prepared for cyber security attacks and have systems in place to help users continue accessing services with an unaffected experience.
This also helps to minimise the impact of cyber attacks and helps business operations recover effectively. This guide will discuss disaster recovery planning and the best way to implement it in a business. We will also consider how important it is for cyber security students to learn about disaster recovery planning.
What is disaster recovery planning in cyber security?
Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) in cyber security is a process that includes a set of rules established to ensure that business operations can continue undisturbed during a cyber security crisis intended to disrupt and halt critical operations.
A DRP’s primary goal is to respond to cyber attacks, minimise their impact and ensure that no data breach, network security attack or power outage should limit the target business’s capability.
These plans usually cater to every cyber attack by including detailed procedures. Some components of a successful program include threat detection, containment, data analysis, incident response and recovery.
It is essential to ensure that a DRP includes methods for testing and monitoring. This can help validate the strategies used for cyber defences, train employees on the right approach to handle a security crisis and ensure that the plans work.
These testing methods are not a one-time task, and most successful security teams will try to monitor, test and update their organisation’s security and operational systems daily. This is mainly because cyber threats are continually evolving, and if the criminal doesn’t rest, the defence forces must stay equally vigilant.
This is not to say that developing the right disaster recovery plan is a one-fits-all approach. There needs to be a proper security plan, and suitable cyber security experts need to be hired to devise DRPs that cater to the specific needs of each business. This is done through detailed business impact analysis and assessment of the business operations’ threats. The following section will discuss the proper method to develop and implement DRPs.
What is the proper process to develop and implement a DRP?
Data centre disaster recovery services and planning are critical processes that help every team in a business to operate with an understanding of potential security risks.
Therefore, it is essential to be meticulous in researching and developing the right disaster recovery plan. While they are not a complete cyber security solution, they are a significant part of the overall security solution.
While we discuss the other disaster recovery plan steps in the following subsections, it is essential to be clear about the first step – creating a disaster recovery team.
This security team will comprise professionals of varying fields and degrees dedicated to providing a comprehensive security solution by conducting risk assessments, developing the DRP, and testing its success after implementation.
A DRP team will include several stakeholders, including IT staff, cyber security experts, incident response leaders, and senior managers. Once you have the team set up, follow these steps to create an effective Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) for your firm’s cyber security strategy:
Recovery objectives and critical assets
After the DRP team is in place, they will identify the critical assets, systems, network protocols and core operations necessary for operational continuity. Most of these steps are covered by performing a thorough risk assessment, which will also give the business essential information about the potential vulnerabilities in the system that impact data protection and the most significant risks in the threat environment.
After completing the risk assessment, it is crucial to shift the focus to recovery objectives, which have two sections- Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs). While the former is concerned with the amount of damage and data loss an organisation can sustain and continue to operate with, the latter specifies how long operations can stop before the situation becomes more damaging. Planning responsive measures is much easier with the correct data on these critical objectives.
After the list of critical assets, systems, recovery objectives, and core operations has been set, it is crucial to develop a proper recovery strategy that clearly outlines the steps that must be undertaken during and after the cyber security crisis.
Whether it is a data breach or an advanced malware attack, the proper recovery strategy will detect the threat, identify it and start dealing with it. The process will include other steps like threat reporting, containment, remediation and recovery.
Roles and responsibilities
It is essential to ensure that every member of the DRP team and every employee within a firm has received the proper training to understand any new security procedures and safety policies. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that nobody panics during an attack. This habit can be enforced by regular awareness sessions and a transparent approach to designating the roles and responsibilities of concerned employees and team members.
It is essential to keep communication plans clear and unaffected for emergencies since a security team and other stakeholders must be able to discuss and regulate the situation. Good communication also helps limit excessive damage because everyone affected by the intruder, including customers, regulators and senior managers, can be warned immediately after an incident.
Security measures and data backups
Even after the DRP team has put an excellent recovery strategy in place, it is essential to implement different security measures to be proactive with your risk assessment. It is crucial to regularly review the security measures you have implemented, whether with cyber threat intelligence, antimalware software, antivirus software or firewalls.
A security measure that could be more effective in its performance abilities is practically useless, and a thorough review will help you replace it with solutions that work.
Since there is no set rule on what data might be permanently lost during cyber attacks and recovery plans, creating timely backups of critical data and saving it in secure disaster recovery sites is also essential. This way, restoring the data after a cyber attack and returning to business as usual is possible. In addition, it is crucial to test the backup and recovery procedures regularly to ensure they remain effective, just like the checks on security measures.
Tests and assessments
Creating an effective DRP that limits the impact of cyber security incidents and security teams can use a recovery plan checklist and a business continuity plan with productive and efficient operations is possible. After setting up the disaster recovery plan, reviewing it and putting it through tests like simulated cyber attacks to ensure that it works well before being included in the cyber security strategy.
However, the DRP team’s job continues after implementation as they need to stay updated with new cyber risks in the threat environment. Therefore, it is essential to regularly test, update and validate your selected plan to ensure it performs well. If you are a digital entrepreneur, you might find this detailed guide on E-commerce cyber security helpful!
Should cyber security students learn about disaster recovery planning?
Cyber security students need to learn about the uses and importance of disaster recovery planning and recognise it as a critical part of an effective cyber security strategy. Cyber threats and actors continue finding new methods to disrupt business operations, but having the right DRP plan ensures businesses can continue their operations unaffected by them.
Since DRPs are based on basic cyber security principles and incident response planning, learning the essential concepts should be relatively easy. Students should attempt to understand concepts like training employees about the plan, assessing risks, and developing and testing a DRP plan.
It is also essential to thoroughly understand security measures like data recovery, data backup, threat detection, incident responses, firewalls, antivirus software and data recovery. Learning these concepts will help cyber security students to protect their future employees from disruptive events, data breaches and other cyber threats.
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With effective disaster recovery planning, you can be sure that your business will continue to operate unaffected despite any attempt to impact your operations negatively. It is essential to be thorough and meticulous in setting up your recovery plan; otherwise, it is unlikely to serve its purpose. You should establish clear responsibilities for all involved team members, prioritise critical operations and incorporate regular monitoring and updates.
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