Have you ever considered what will happen to your help desk in the case of disaster? Business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) planning, today, applies as much to technological assets, such as the software solutions that support your business, as physical property. The reason being is that losing sensitive data or access to business-critical equipment can put your entire operation at risk. If your company provides IT services, either to internal stakeholders or outside parties, implementing a help desk disaster recovery plan is vital. A robust BC/DR plan will help your IT staff respond quickly in the event of an emergency of any nature and lessen its impact to the entirety of your business.
Your help desk disaster recovery plan should:
- Align information security strategies with help desk response
- Keep the business up and running
- Protect data stored in the cloud and within your network
- Reduce the risk of social engineering threats and secondary attacks
Your IT department may develop an overarching disaster recovery plan, which can cover help desk processes. But, you may find that the IT service desk needs a separate plan specifically designed to cover the unique challenges an employee IT service team faces. Your help desk may need to serve as the first responders after any major incident. Whether an emergency happens at the home office or in a remote location, everyone knows to call the help desk line, and many may even keep the number on speed dial. The initial IT response via help desk personnel can set the tone for company-wide disaster recovery.
How to Develop a Help Desk Disaster Recovery Plan
As you begin working to create your help desk DR plan, take the time to ask the following questions:
- Does your company’s help desk provide services outside of the IT department?
- Does your IT department have a DR plan in place that includes the help desk?
- How completely does the plan address employees and IT service functionality?
- Does your company’s help desk offer services globally?
- Is it available to your customers 24/7?
Answers to these questions will help you create a comprehensive help desk DR plan. Your plan should cover technological considerations as well as employee response best practices and overtime expectations. As you develop your DR plan, consider these elements as your building blocks:
Budget. Disaster recovery costs time and money. Depending on the threat, a help desk team may need outside help to uncover vulnerabilities and maintain business operations. You will need to factor those costs into your plan.
Limit the content of the plan. Keep it simple and focus solely on the disaster response actions you need your help desk team to perform to restore the service functionality as quickly as possible under emergency conditions.
Leverage Response software. Take advantage of integrated and user-friendly help desk and remote support software to allow team members to isolate, categorize, and respond to threats promptly.
Create an actionable plan. Formalize a plan of action or checklist your help desk staff can use to respond appropriately during an emergency. Define what roles are critical during a disaster and identify those employees who will take particular actions.
Data management. During a cyber-attack, environmental catastrophe, or another emergency, data management and privacy will reduce the impact of the incident on business continuity. Deploy a network monitoring system that integrates with help desk solutions to respond quickly to an emergency. Look for solutions, including remote support tools that integrate with backup systems for improved response capabilities.
Testing. Responding to an emergency requires a gut instinct and an actionable plan. Practice and run through foreseeable emergency scenarios to give your team a sense of what a real emergency might involve and test your plan regularly.
The modern digital threat landscape is vast. While prevention and monitoring solutions can reduce the risk of an emergency, it cannot eliminate the risk. Protect your business with a help desk disaster recovery plan, one that covers the IT service department functionality and fits within the parameters of your IT departments DR plan.
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