In recognition of Acronis Cyber Protection Week 2023
Cyberattacks, in all forms, harm businesses, causing financial loss, data breaches and reputational damage. These negative impacts will presumably increase, especially those caused by phishing and malware. Between July and November 2022, phishing activity increased by 130%, representing 76% of all email-based attacks, and Acronis' security service blocked 17,500,697 phishing and malicious URLs in the third quarter of 2022.
Given this surge, recovery from cyber disasters is as important as cybersecurity. Disaster recovery enables organizations to restore operations after a disruptive event. It involves a set of procedures, policies, and technologies that aid in the swift resuscitation of activities after an attack, minimizing downtime.
Data loss is the immediate result of a cyberattack. Hence, during disaster recovery, data backed up to an offsite location, like a data center, office, or private / public cloud, is reproduced. Sometimes, the backup location assumes position as the primary database until the original site is up and running.
Disaster recovery combines cybersecurity with data protection and synergizes between all the elements of cyber protection — prevention, detection, and response. Given its importance and scope, it is pertinent that MSPs include disaster recovery as part of their service offerings to enable their clients to enjoy comprehensive cyber protection.
With disaster recovery, law firms localized in one location can spin up their entire cloud environment containing clientele information as-is in record time. Since downtime can also be caused by system update, media and finance firms can also leverage DR for business continuity during a disaster without compromising their heavily-regulated operations.
RPO and RTO in disaster recovery
Recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) are key metrics used in disaster recovery planning. They Interject with your clients’ business impact analysis, and calculating them is the first step to successful disaster recovery.
RPO is the maximum amount of data loss acceptable to an organization during a disaster. It is the time at which data must be restored to meet business requirements. If the RPO of a company is, for example, one hour, the company can afford to lose no more than one hour of data during a disaster.
RTO, on the other hand, is the amount of time taken to restore a system after a disaster. It is the maximum acceptable downtime. For instance, if the RTO for a company is four hours, then the company must restore operations four hours after a disaster.
Calculating the RPO and RTO enables you to determine the specific disaster recovery strategy your client needs, the resources to implement the strategy, identify priority systems and data for backup and recovery, and allocate resources accordingly.
You can also use the RPO and RTO to gauge the efficacy of a disaster recovery plan by conducting regular disaster recovery tests. This will help you to determine the level of data loss and downtime your clients can tolerate, and formulate requisite strategies to minimize the impact of a disaster.
Disaster recovery planning
Creating disaster recovery plans is a shared responsibility between you and your clients. They must recognize the need for a disaster recovery plan (DRP), and you must help them develop priority-based sensitive DRPs. Some of your clients in finance, healthcare, and manufacturing must even have DRPs in compliance with certain industry regulations.
To make your client understand the need for a DRP, you must make them realize the financial consequences of extended downtime. Small businesses lose $137–$427 per minute of downtime, and the number could be as high as $5,600–$9,000 per minute of downtime for enterprises and large organizations.
Disaster Recovery Planning involves the calculation of the RTO and RPO, evaluating the organization's possible risk factors and recovery goal, and developing the disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a formal document describing the processes and protocols an organization will implement during a disaster for a quick resumption of business. Some disaster recovery planning techniques are:
Cold site is a data center away from the primary site. It is fully equipped with hardware, power, and connectivity but is not operational. During a disaster, the organization ports to the cold site and makes it operational by installing and configuring its software.
Warm site is a data center partially equipped with hardware, power, and connectivity already in place. It is partially operational, and backups from the primary site to the warm site are performed daily or weekly.
Hot site is a fully equipped and operational data center ready to take over the operations of the primary data center in the event of a disaster. It is the most expensive but the best option for quick recovery. Hot sites typically have an infrastructure that simulates the primary data center, allowing for rapid failover and recovery.
Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the back-up of data to a public cloud, managed by a third-party cloud provider. The provider charges a pay-as-you-go fee, which is billed monthly or annually. The DRaaS infrastructure is best located away from the primary site.
Virtual disaster recovery plan creates a replica of an organization's entire IT infrastructure and runs it on offsite Virtual Machines (VMs). Since VMs are hardware independent, you can easily load your clients’ backups and recover from a disaster in a few minutes.
Cloud disaster recovery uses a cloud-based service to store and recover critical data. It also enables remote access to all cloud systems in a protected virtual environment. Since a third-party cloud provider manages it, your clients do not need to worry about equipment failure and data center management. It is more cost-effective and scalable than traditional disaster recovery methods, as it allows organizations to pay only for the resources they use.
Hybrid disaster recovery Hybrid disaster recovery involves combining physical and virtual disaster recoveries methods, such as a hot site and a cloud-based service, to create a more comprehensive and resilient disaster recovery plan.
Developing a disaster recovery plan
An effective DRP must incorporate the frameworks of cyber protection. The steps involved in developing an effective DRP include the following:
- Risk assessment: Identify potential disasters that could affect your clients’ business. This could be natural disasters, power outages, cyberattacks, and human error. Analyze the possibilities of occurrence and possible risks, and rank the disasters based on their possible impact on the business.
- Business impact analysis (BIA): Identify critical business functions and their dependencies. Determine how long the organization can operate without these functions and their interdependencies.
- Recovery strategies: Identify recovery strategies for each critical function. This may include alternate locations, backup systems and communication plans.
- Find the right DRP solution: Use a disaster recovery solution that is realistic about managing and testing, aligns with the organization’s IT requirements, and is time-sensitive. In Acronis, for example, you can add disaster recovery to your clients' backup in a few minutes. Acronis backup and disaster recovery solutions protect data, enable you to quickly provision your IT systems into the cloud during a disaster, and easily reproduce the data to the same, new, or dissimilar hardware.
- Plan development: Develop a DRP document that outlines the procedures to be followed in the event of a disaster. This should include emergency contact information, detailed recovery procedures, and communication plans.
- Testing and training: Regularly test the DRP to ensure its effectiveness. This helps you identify weaknesses in the plan, and empower the organization’s employees with their roles and responsibilities during a disaster, enabling the quick implementation of the DRP. You may need to talk your client into formulating a DRP team comprising all staff involved, including the personnel responsible for developing, implementing, and testing the DRP.
- Maintenance: Update the DRP regularly to reflect organizational changes like new systems, processes, and personnel.
MSPs must prioritize their clients' cyber protection. Disaster recovery is a crucial element in comprehensive cyber protection. MSPs can implement DR using many techniques, including regular backups, data replication, and failover capabilities. In addition to these human-based efforts, the importance of a cyber protection tool cannot be overstated.
Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud uses the latest technology to protect data and ease its reproduction during a disaster. It is intuitive, easy to use and learn, allows you to recover files locally in the cloud, and recover accidentally deleted files and folders when the need arises. Start your free 15-day trial now!
Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 1,800 employees in 45 locations. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.