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Disaster Recovery Planning for Remote Workforces


Disaster Recoery Planning

The existing digitized business era is not just competitive but also very challenging to survive. Around 60% of SMEs go out of business within six months after facing a cyberattack. On top of that, the growing trend of remote workforces is just worsening the whole situation. In fact, 20% of organizations faced a breach due to remote employees. Therefore, organizations need a more dynamic approach to disaster recovery planning, incorporating remote vulnerabilities as well. Therefore, this blog explores in detail the importance of disaster recovery planning for remote workforces and steps to develop an effective disaster recovery plan.

Importance of Disaster Recovery Planning for Remote Workforces

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a new era of remote-based working, which is unlikely to go away. In fact, 73% of employees now prefer to work from home some of the time. Although remote workforces provide organizations with many benefits, it also expands the disaster landscape and opens new opportunities for cybercriminals.

There is a 238% increase in cyberattack frequency due to working from home. Besides that, remote employees can also face other disaster incidents, such as power outages, hardware failures, communication disruptions, and natural disasters. All these aspects reflect the necessity of disaster recovery planning for remote workforces.

When an organization has a disaster recovery plan for remote workforces, it leads to business continuity, data protection and recovery, effective cybersecurity, employee productivity, and regulatory compliance.

8 Steps to Develop an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan for Remote Workforces

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning varies from organization to organization, as the business type, IT infrastructure, potential threats, and other factors play a major role. However, below we are listing the eight common steps that can lead to effective disaster recovery planning for remote workforces, no matter the organization's size or nature:

1.      Conduct a Thorough Risk Assessment

The first step in disaster recovery planning is performing a thorough risk assessment of all the critical assets related to remote working. This involves looking into factors like natural disasters, cyber threats, power outages, etc. During the risk assessment, identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, determine potential impacts, assess existing control measures, and prioritize risks.

2.      Determine Recovery Objectives

Next, determine the two crucial recovery objectives, i.e., Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). RPO reflects the acceptable data loss, while RTO reflects the acceptable downtime. So, determine the RPO and RTO of crucial remote assets to develop the recovery strategy accordingly.

3.      Set Up a Recovery Strategy

By now, your organization has prioritized the risks related to remote working and knows the corresponding recovery objectives. So, the next and most important step is to set up a recovery strategy. This can involve data backup and recovery procedures, access control measures, strong password policy, alternative internet connectivity, and similar others.

4.      Implement Security Measures

Cybersecurity is an essential part of disaster recovery planning for remote workforces. Considering the cyber threats and vulnerabilities, implement the required security measures, such as firewalls, antiviruses, patching and upgrading routines, penetration testing, etc.

5.      Allocate Resources

Allocate sufficient resources, financially and technologically, for the implementation and maintenance of the disaster recovery plan. It is because data backup and recovery systems, cybersecurity tools, and other remote-based technologies require dedicated resources. By allocating dedicated resources for disaster recovery planning, the organization uplifts its ability to respond to disasters effectively.

6.      Train Remote Employees

Most remote-based cyberattacks begin with phishing email attacks. Besides that, remote employees often have to deal with disasters on their own until they get assistance from the in-house IT team. Therefore, it is important that remote employees are well-trained about top remote risks and vulnerability, best disaster recovery practices, and how to tackle the situations effectively.

7.      Documentation

A disaster recovery plan is nothing without comprehensive documentation. Document each element of a disaster recovery plan in an easy-to-digest format and then distribute it to all the remote employees.

8.      Test & Update the Plan Regularly

Disaster recovery planning is not a one-time thing considering the dynamic nature of remote workforces and evolving threats. Therefore, test out your disaster recovery plan and update it with new measures regularly to reduce the chances and impacts of disasters.

Wrapping Up

Since the boom of technology and digital transformation, disaster recovery planning has become necessary for organizations. Not just SMEs, the 2023 IT Outage Impact Study by LogicMonitor reports that 96% of global IT decision-makers have experienced at least one outage in the past three years. Besides on-site outages/disasters, remote workforces bring a new wave of vulnerabilities that can cast severe consequences. Therefore, it is essential for organizations of any size to follow the above steps and set up a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to mitigate the chances of downtimes, protect crucial data, and ensure business continuity.

Need assistance with your disaster planning? Contact us to talk to our team of IT experts.