5 Key Considerations for CTOs Building a Recovery Plan

Introduction

It’s no secret that as time has passed, the data landscape we all live in has grown exponentially, and with each day that goes by, protecting your business-critical data from ransomware has become an increasingly complex process. While each company’s business continuity plan will look a little different, there are thankfully some key steps that every CTO can take when building the cyber security resiliency plan that best fits their business.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss five key things to consider when building your own ransomware recovery strategy.

Consideration 1: Identify Critical Systems and Data

As a CTO, it is essential that you can identify the systems and data that are most essential for your business to function. You need to ask yourself and your team: What data would be catastrophic for us to lose? What systems would disrupt business continuity the most if they were to be attacked?

While this may seem obvious, being able to focus in on your most critical systems and data can help you prioritize what you need to protect first. Particularly if your business is large, looking at all your systems and data can be overwhelming. Identifying the specific systems and data that are most important to your business breaks the process down to manageable chunks and gives you and your team a tangible place to start.

Consideration 2: Develop a Recovery Strategy

Once you’ve found your starting place and identified your most critical systems and data, it’s time to develop your recovery strategy. At its core, your business continuity strategy must include the specific steps to recover your business-critical systems and data in the event of disaster and the roles and responsibilities of each team member that’d be involved in the process.

Here are some tips:


Make sure your plan is easy and ready to use. Ensure that your recovery plan flows correctly, is written succinctly and makes sense to both the IT professionals involved in disaster recovery (DR) and laymen. After all, who knows when an attack may occur and who may have to execute your business continuity plan.

Identify the specific people and parties that will be involved. Make sure all personnel are aware of and understand your incident response plan. Also make sure that they test it and become familiar with the process before it needs to be implemented for real.

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket. Educate and prepare several DR teams in the event of disaster. If you place all the burden on one person or team, you’ll be in trouble if they’re incapacitated by a cyber-security incident! This is also why it’s important to have an easy-to-understand plan; if another party has to intervene in case of emergency, you want to make sure that anyone can follow your protocol in a worst-case scenario!

Consideration 3: Test Your Recovery Plan

You don’t want the first time your ransomware recovery strategy is implemented to be at the time of attack. Testing your recovery plan is crucial to making sure it works as intended. This way, you can identify specific issues and gaps in your plan to make sure that, when disaster strikes, you can get back up and running as soon as possible.

One test isn’t always enough either—make sure you test your plan under different scenarios to ensure it can handle all types of disasters that can come your way. This can include things like ransomware incidents, human error, phishing, natural disasters, power outages and more.

Plus, as your environment changes, make sure you periodically test your recovery plan to ensure new issues and gaps haven’t appeared as your organization has evolved.

Consideration 4: Establish Communication Protocols

In the midst of a disaster scenario, communication is critical. You don’t want things to be misunderstood, and you want your business continuity plan to be executed as quickly as possible, without having to re-explain and reassess things along the way.

As a CTO, it’s important to establish communication protocols before disaster strikes. Make sure you have effective communication channels in place so you and all stakeholders, employees, customers and suppliers can communicate with each other quickly and effectively. Make sure you have backup communication channels in place as well in case your primary channels become unavailable!

Consideration 5: Ensure Compliance

Compliance is also an essential component to consider, especially if your company handles sensitive data that’s protected by governmental regulations. CTO recovery plans must ensure that they comply with all relevant regulations and standards from agencies like HIPAA and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Make sure that your data is stored securely and protected by tested recovery plans that meet these organizations’ specific regulations and standards. Its also worth mentioning that your key teams that may be involved in a DR incident are aware of these regulations and standards so they can respond accordingly in the event of an incident.

Conclusion

As a CTO, ensuring your company’s cybersecurity resilience can be an overwhelming and stressful process — but it doesn’t have to be! Identifying what needs to be protected, what parties need to be involved, establishing communication channels, developing and testing a recovery plan and ensuring its compliance are the main steps you need to take to make sure your business stays running, even when disaster strikes.

In this upcoming webinar from Formula 1 Racing CTO, Pat Symonds, and Veeam’s own Danny Allan, we will discuss these five crucial aspects in greater detail. Nothing is better than hearing from fellow CTOs when considering how to develop your own CTO recovery plan!

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