Anyone who reads DrChaos regularly understands that the need for effective security against the threat of ransomware, malware, and viruses ravaging a computer network is very real. And very scary too. It only takes one exploited vulnerability that didn’t get patched with a software update fast enough or a careless (or malicious) employee who snuck a questionable file onto their work PC.

The threat is real, ever-changing, and dangerous.

And sometimes the worst happens.

Why a Disaster Recovery Systems Necessary?

Like anyone involved in security will tell you – it’s always the things you didn’t see and never expected that get you. The same is true with computer security. As fast as exploits are blocked, new ones appear in the wild.

The statistics are shocking. Infected devices with ransomware cripple mobile devices with data loss exceeding 55%. With office networks, companies fail to recover their data 12% of the time. A third of companies have no disaster preparation at all and 90 percent without protection don’t survive as a going concern.

It’s necessary to keep up with the risks and mitigate them. But sometimes hackers get through or malware surfaces on a work PC. Then it’s about eradicating the threat and reducing the damage. However, when malware has already swept through the office network and it’s become unsalvageable, then it’s game over. Or, is it?

At this time, you’ll be glad you invested in a business continuity service. We’re now going to cover what disaster recovery services offer companies, but you can also read more here too.

Let’s dive in.

Disaster Recovery Works in Phases

Make no mistake. It’s necessary to plan for a disaster with a series of measures to avoid panic inside the company. The trouble comes for companies with no plan in place.

Assessment Phase

A disaster recovery specialist focused on business continuity will first assess the situation at the company. They know what’s required to create as secure an environment as possible to reduce the threat level. Their experience about what’s gone wrong for other companies where they’ve helped them recover informs them about points of vulnerability.

Vulnerabilities come in many forms and from different sources – employees, outsiders, websites, software, patches and updates, and mobile apps. The assessment encompasses potential threats and vulnerabilities, and how to best avoid them.

Protection Phase

Recommendations are made for security improvements to avoid future issues. New processes are created to help staff avoid making key mistakes that leave the network vulnerable to attack.

Other procedural recommendations assist internal IT staff in locking down potential points of vulnerability that perhaps they were unaware of or didn’t take seriously enough if they were aware of them.

Disaster Recovery Phase

The disaster recovery phase is designed to implement an action plan at the point where damage has been done to the network and/or computers connected to it.

The first part of it is to prevent further damage to systems, where possible.

The second part lays out what to do to recover as quickly as possible from an attack.

Maintaining Data Integrity

Data integrity is critically important to a business.

When data is lost, it’s often difficult to impossible for the company to recover. Reinventing processes and recreating essential files from scratch may not be possible, especially if the personnel responsible for their initial creation are no longer with the company.

A series of employees may also have augmented the files over time, making them a group creation, which is impossible to replicate once lost.

Ransomware, Malware or Virus Could Have Been Present for Days or Weeks

With networks, a piece of ransomware, malware or virus could have been lying dormant on a corporate hard drive(s) for some time. It may have been slowly working its way through the file systems bit by bit to remain undetected rather than corrupting all the data within the space of a day. For this reason, a blended data backup plan is required to cover all eventualities.

Automated Backups are Key

Automated backups remove the human component and the risk of forgetfulness when it comes to regular data backups. Files are synced to the cloud over an encrypted connection like SSL, SSH or SFTP to prevent access and make any data unreadable to outsiders.

Backups should be performed every 5-10 minutes. This is possible because it’s only necessary to back up new or amended files; not everything. These incremental backups can be combined easily to recover the necessary files.

A virtual server should be used to test the server’s disk image for validity. This confirms that the structure is in place to recover either using a virtual machine at an IT disaster recovery specialist or on the company’s server should that become necessary.

Data is backed up locally and in the cloud, in case the local office is compromised.

Restoring Systems Quickly

Thanks to the use of disk images, it’s possible to restore either the missing or corrupted files, or the entire server, as needed. The length of time for the recovery depends on the extent of the problem and whether wiping the server and restoring data in its entirety is required.

The backed-up files can also be accessed via virtualization through a disaster recovery specialist. This is useful when the server hardware is compromised or no longer functioning properly. In which case, a replicated, virtual version of the backed-up server is made available for staff to access remotely. This solution provides a fallback option should the server hardware need to be replaced, which will take days to do.

Disaster recovery is an essential service for any business that takes continuity at all seriously. While it’s possible to provide some of the provisions in-house, the risk is that a lack of attention or mixing of systems could render the recovery option moot. At this point, it’s too late to come up with a viable Plan B to save the company. By using professional disaster recovery specialists with the right systems in place, businesses protect themselves from a worst-case scenario. As the old adage goes: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Words never so true when it comes to business continuity planning.