As too many businesses suddenly find out, IT disasters happen—-without warning.

After much head-scratching and woulda’s, shoulda’s, coulda’s, many businesses scramble (not panic) trying to analyze and develop IT disaster recovery planning.

Organizations of all sizes generate and manage massive amounts of data, much of it is mission critical. The impact of corruption or data loss from human error, hardware failure, malware, or hacking can be substantial. IT disaster recovery planning is often critical. It is essential to have a disaster recovery plan to restore business data from a data backup image.

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work after an unplanned incident. A DRP is an essential part of a business continuity plan (BCP). It is applied to the aspects of an organization that depend on a functioning information technology (IT) infrastructure. A DRP aims to help an organization resolve data loss and recover system functionality so that it can perform in the aftermath of an incident, even if it operates at a minimal level.

IT disaster recovery planning is essential. For sudden, unexpected situations—like application failures, communication failures, power outages, natural disasters, malware or other cyber-attacks, data center disasters, building disasters, citywide or regional disasters.

The DRP comprises steps to minimize the effects of a disaster so the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions. Typically, a DRP involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before generating a detailed plan, organizations often perform a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk analysis (RA), as important ways to establish recovery objectives.

When disaster strikes, the recovery strategy should start at the business level to determine which applications are most important to running the organization. The recovery time objective (RTO) describes the amount of time critical applications can be down, typically measured in hours, minutes, or seconds. The recovery point objective (RPO) describes the age of files that must be recovered from data backup storage for normal operations to resume.

Many business leaders agree. IT disaster recovery planning is no longer optional. Experience consistently teaches businesses that cybercrime and security breaches are becoming frighteningly more sophisticated. It is important for an organization to define its data recovery and protection strategies. The ability to quickly handle incidents can reduce downtime and minimize financial and reputational damages.

As an additional value, DRPs also help organizations meet compliance requirements, while providing a clear roadmap for recovery.