Tips for Developing a SaaS Disaster Recovery Plan

In this digital age, most businesses rely on technology to maximize efficiency. Be it accounting or sales process, there is software that can get more work done with custom features. This demand gave an opportunity to the Software as a Service (SaaS) companies to prove their mettle. SaaS becoming a norm was a great news for companies until cyber miscreants spoilt the show. It is not a possibility of if but when your company can get attacked by one of these entities. Since 2018, security breaches have increased 11%, raising fear and insecurity in SaaS companies (Ponemon Institute).

The need to devise a damage repair solution for your SaaS business is greater than ever. This post will throw light on some insights and tips to prepare a concise and flexible disaster recovery plan. 

Business Impact Analysis

The first step in crafting a disaster recovery plan is to perform an assessment of your current scenario. Especially your virtualized environment and how many people are involved in your service. A business impact analysis focuses on possible external factors that can affect work, as well as natural calamities. Then there are risk and severity levels that range from a minor power outage to a tornado raging through your location. 

Hackers plan and launch an attack in every 39 seconds, 2244 times each day. Eyeing each possible situation helps you weigh your resources and keep everyone educated. While preparing a risk assessment, take into account all available records as well as past situations. Company’s records of past events, local list of calamities and experience of stakeholders are some good places to start. 

Document Everything

Paperwork is tedious, but it is also important in times of crisis. You can say that detailed documentation of your disaster recovery plan is never going to be useless. For companies with multiple hierarchies and stakeholders, documenting a plan will keep everyone on the same page. Essentially, a disaster recovery planning document includes tactics and aims of your plan. It lists in detail the roles of key people involved and any emergency contacts. One look at this document and you should be able to know who what will do if a calamity befalls your organization.

The most important thing to be documented is permissions. People leading the company in times of crisis should have the necessary permissions to make decisions. In crunch situations, every sensible decision can make a huge difference. Make sure that your recovery plan includes permissions. 

Use DUMB to keep everyone in the loop

Cyber-attacks are serious, but it is the little malpractices that can add up to a big disaster. The most common entryways for thieves and hackers are your employees or client accounts. Leaving your computer unattended in a public place or not logging off a public station are some examples. Experts believe that 80 percent of these problems can be avoided by getting cyber hygiene correct. Moreover, education is more important to deal with the advanced nature of disasters. Phishing and scams trick many people every year, but it should not happen to anyone in your SaaS company. 

One method of making disaster recovery plan clearer is DUMB. DUMB stands for Doable, Understandable, Manageable, and Beneficial processes to keep team members in the clear. It is critical to include a general review of metrics in the cyber security world. You can educate people on Malwares, DoS, DDoS, Phishing, Passwords, and Drive-by attacks. You can never eradicate the possibility of mistake, but employee and client education workshops can minimize the danger. 

Consider the cloud

DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) is a real thing. Most DRaaS solutions work in a specific way; some provide virtualization to keep a copy of users’ applications and servers, while others provide cloud-based recovery and backup, while data is copied to “virtualized failover systems.” DRaaS has multiple benefits including enhanced simplicity, reduced recovery expense and minimum IT resources required. 

Don’t forget to devise a communication plan

One of the keys to SaaS disaster planning effectiveness is to establish a plan of communication. Evaluate who needs to be informed and the best channel to reach those personnel. Since SaaS companies already use apps like Slack and RingCentral, it’s not that hard to create a notification system which will send incident response reminders and other similar messages if the corporate system goes down. 

It’s also a good idea to create a communication tree as the organization focuses on re-establishing communication systems that allow for collaborative incident response efforts.

Keep testing

Once you have a solution in place, it is time to test it. Most of us are aware of fire drills that start all of a sudden in the building and ask us to comply. Tests in the SaaS world are ever so important because you are dealing with an infinite abyss of possibilities called the internet. The only way to achieve perfection in your plan is by constantly testing your recovery plan. Internet’s nature is fast-paced and if you provide a technology, latest trends come into the picture. 

At any day, you must be confident to say that you have a smooth-functioning disaster recovery plan in place. Testing is not a one-off thing; it is a process that will keep going on. Repeating the recovery process makes the key players more alert and aware of the serious nature of internet incidents. 

Put resilience at the front 

Resilience should be prioritized as a guiding principle in a SaaS company. Ensuring your IT infrastructure is capable to survive in testing times comes down to a combination of services and technologies that both minimize the risk of failure and provide support to the business. The most important step to take is to prevent single points of failure from showing up. For example, if a key application can only function from one, exclusive server, that’s a weak spot right there. 

So, as part of your SaaS disaster recovery planning, evaluate the resilience of both your software and hardware in the organization to see if anything could be improved. Backup generators, servers, and failover connectivity can all help minimize failure-related risks.

The bottom line

While we hope with utmost sincerity that something like this does not happen to our company, risks loom around. In the world of SaaS disaster recovery, you need to back-up even your back-ups. Make sure that your critical response team is up and doing in a minute. Moreover, every key player must also have a shadow member. Communication and alertness are key skills which come in handy when things go haywire. With worldwide attacks on the rise, every SaaS solution provider must have a detailed disaster recovery plan.