Where Does Cybersecurity Fit in Your DR Plan?

MARCH 29TH, 2018

Disaster recovery and cybersecurity are two of the most important objectives for any organization. In disaster recovery, you have what is arguably the most important aspect of business continuity. However, cybersecurity is the key to protecting your IT assets from the litany of threats that haunt the digital landscape. While they are clearly two fundamentally different strategies, these practices have more in common than you might think. DR and cybersecurity both strive to lessen the impact of unplanned incidents. By nature, the former places greater emphasis on recovery. Nevertheless, both activities implement processes to restore business operations as quickly as possible. What's more, they both are designed to create a degree of resilience that minimizes the likelihood of similar events occurring in the future. Considering that both are essential to business survival, it makes a lot of sense to keep cybersecurity in mind when planning for disaster recovery and vice versa.

Thinking Compound Strategy

Whether it's a classic virus or the latest network attack, security threats can cause just as much chaos and damage as a natural disaster. Here are three things you can do to integrate cybersecurity into your disaster recovery strategy.

  1. Identify What You Want to Protect


Businesses should leave no stone unturned when it comes to security. With that said, it's important to identify exactly what needs to be protected and align your DR plans accordingly. Take ransomware, for instance. In a worst-case scenario, this attack might encrypt the files on your desktop, as well as the entire NAS server that houses their backups. For maximum protection, organizations should implement policies that restrict access to mission-critical backups. More importantly, they should invest in an off-site location to secure copies of those backups.

  1. Plan for Select Threats


The fact that not all attacks are created equal is incentive to plan backup strategies with specific security threats in mind. Since ransomware often encrypts individual files, organizations should consider investing in a solution that will let them backup and recover individual files. That way, you can resume business operations much faster by restoring the affected files opposed to recovering the entire system. Every second counts when disaster strikes and you're in a race to restore mission-critical services.

  1. Highlight Recovery Needs


Speaking of recovery, your systems and vulnerability to certain threats should be considered as you determine how to recover from security-related disasters. If a Trojan infects your server, the recovery process will involve containment, eradication, and finally restoration as you work to get the server back up and running. If it's a DDoS attack on your website, your focus should be set on identifying the source, neutralizing the threat, and stabilizing performance. Resuming business ASAP is always the goal. But whether you need to start disconnecting network devices or coming to terms with how much data you can afford to lose will vary across different systems as well as from one threat to the next.


Some experts might recommend planning cybersecurity and disaster recovery initiatives independent of one another. After all, they're two entirely different strategies managed by different teams within your organization. However, there is enough correlation to make one activity critical to the overall effectiveness of the other. When all else fails and there seems to be no stopping that crippling attack, your DR plan could be the answer to restoring your data and system to a secure state as the last line of defense!

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