Every organization, whether small or large, is vulnerable to threats that can disrupt business operations, compromise sensitive data, and possibly result in severe financial damage. Healthcare organizations hold a lot of sensitive data, so it is crucial to set up effective disaster recovery planning and business continuity strategies.
Disaster recovery is about recovering IT infrastructure and data access after a disaster has occurred. For example, recovery of data and systems after a ransomware attack. On the other hand, business continuity is about ensuring the business remains operational during a disaster. In this course module, we will closely look at disaster recovery plans and business continuity strategies worth knowing for healthcare-related IT infrastructures.
System Problem Management
System problem management implies detecting and managing all the problems that could happen to the IT infrastructure in order to reduce their impacts and avoid them from reoccurring. System problem management is a crucial concept in disaster recovery and business continuity practices. So, there is a need for top-notch processes and activities to be in place to effectively manage the lifecycle of all the problems. Here are the crucial procedures and strategies crucial for disaster recovery planning and ensuring business continuity with timely problem management:
Reporting procedures imply such procedures that are set up by the organization for reporting information related to different aspects of the IT infrastructure, such as the current standing of IT infrastructure, details about disaster events, and similar other crucial information. Reports are crucial to get full visibility of the IT-related assets, current standings of security measures, and the overall vulnerabilities of the organization.
So, one of the steps for an effective disaster recovery plan and business continuity strategies is to set up reporting procedures that the IT team has to follow to generate reports around IT infrastructure and disaster events. This could include specific templates, key metrics to showcase, performance measurements, detailed classification of incidents, and other details that the organization deems important for clear insights and better decision-making.
In the digital world, disasters can be prevented by timely monitoring, detection, and prevention. Concerning the huge number of threats associated with IT infrastructure whether related to cyber attacks or hardware/software malfunctions, automated monitoring is a must.
There should be 24/7 automated monitoring of servers, applications, networks, databases, and other IT-related infrastructure regardless of their location. There are plenty of tools and services available today that can help organizations to set up an effective automated monitoring system. With automated monitoring and reduced human intervention, an organization is in a better position to respond to threats or malfunctions timely before they become worse.
When a monitoring system detects a problem, it should be informed to the right person as soon as possible. This could be an alarm alert that the on-duty IT technician can receive or it could be a notification sent as an email. Modern alert systems allow organizations to even specify who to contact for specific alerts.
After setting up automated monitoring, the need for timely alerts to the right person is crucial for an instant response to the threat call. This way, the response team can quickly get a preview of the problem and can start fixing the issue right away.
SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol. It is an internet standard protocol that is meant for managing and monitoring network-connected devices in Internet Protocol networks. It is embedded in many local devices, including servers, routers, firewalls, switches, CCTV cameras, etc.
SNMP gathers data from the devices, organizes the data, and dispatches the data to carry out effective network monitoring/management along with fault detection. So, the correct and effective use of SNMP protocol can serve greatly in monitoring systems for effective disaster recovery planning.
Data and System Recovery
After a disastrous event, the top priority should be to recover data and systems to minimize downtime and make the business operations back to their normal state. So, data and system recovery imply the restoration of the data/apps to the desktop, server, or other devices efficiently.
Data and system recovery is possible if you have made a complete backup beforehand. There are multiple tools that can assist you in making a complete system backup locally or in the cloud. You can even set automatic data backup schedules to keep backing up sensitive data continuously. This way, you can easily recover the system and its data once a disastrous event hits your organization’s IT infrastructure.
As the name implies, offsite archiving is about storing a copy of data securely in an offsite location far away from the primary IT infrastructure. The main advantage of offsite archiving is to protect the data from on-site data calamities, such as a virus attack, system crash, fire, flood, etc. Moreover, the offsite data is recoverable anytime, making it easy to restore data quickly in case of data loss.
There are multiple ways to perform offsite archiving, i.e., either you can duplicate your data in storage mediums, like external hard drives, and store them in an offsite location or you can upload the data to secure servers of cloud backup services. In any case, offsite archiving ensures that you have a copy of crucial data in place, giving peace of mind. Larger institutions may have multiple data centers spread across the country.
Hardware and Software Solutions
As mentioned above, a disaster does not just come in the shape of cyberattacks, but malfunctions of hardware or sudden software crash can also lead to miserable situations. Therefore, disaster recovery planning also involves a specific focus on hardware and software solutions.
You should first ensure that your organization uses reliable, advanced, and up-to-date hardware and software solutions. Secondly, you should have the right replacement hardware in place to quickly replace the malfunctioning or damaged hardware. Moreover, planning for timely software repairs is also a must to address software issues right away.
Applications Service Provider
Application service provider (ASP) is a firm that provides applications and its related services to your organization over the internet using a usage-based or rental pricing model. Today, an application service provider is more commonly known as software as a service (SaaS). The purpose of ASP or SaaS is to offer on-demand computing services that are more cost-friendly, reliable, accessible, and scalable.
Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is becoming a popular and recommended choice for organizations today who don’t have in-house resources to handle disaster recovery on their own. In the DRaaS model, disaster recovery is hosted by a third-party vendor where the organization backs up its data, apps, and all crucial IT infrastructure in the cloud computing environment of the vendor in order to regain access after a disaster. This way, an organization doesn’t have to own resources to manage disaster recovery on its own and can rely on the up-to-date and advanced resources of the DRaaS vendor.
Disastrous events can occur anytime to any organization. Many disasters are of small scale and cause minimal damage. But severe disasters can even make the sustainability of the business vulnerable. Therefore, disaster recovery planning and business continuity strategies are a must at present time. Above we have discussed some of the key strategies, but you should also explore more depending on your organization’s IT infrastructure. So, prioritize disaster recovery and business continuity planning and protect your organizations from unseeable threats.