NIST Disaster Recovery Plan Template

NIST Disaster Recovery Plan Template

NIST Disaster Recovery Plan Template

Cybersecurity is a major concern for every company today, as data is becoming exponentially more important in nearly every aspect of business. With increased usage comes increased risk, of course, especially for sensitive data and information.

NIST Disaster Recovery Plan Template

There are many reasons to have a DRP, or a disaster recovery plan, in place to help protect and/or recover any data that’s lost or damaged when an unexpected incident occurs. But, the challenge for many organizations is figuring out what to include and where to start.

Luckily, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, has created a cybersecurity framework to help guide organizations on what they should do.

Managing Cybersecurity Risk in Your Business Environment

Managing cybersecurity risks is an essential task for any organization, large or small. Whether you have a complicated IT system that stores loads of data or a single computer server to run a small mom-and-pop shop, it’s important to make sure that you have proper data safety measures in place to protect your business.

Unfortunately, cybersecurity threats are becoming more complicated and complex while increasing in number, presenting a huge challenge to manage and mitigate these risks. IT teams must always ensure that IT systems and architectures are not only secure but also compliant with standards, which can be challenging for even the most talented teams.

Following standard operating procedures and established frameworks like the one laid out by the NIST is certainly a great place to start.

What is NIST?

Founded more than 100 years ago, the National Institute of Standards and Technology today is wrapped under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The NIST is the oldest physical science laboratory in the country.

When Congress originally created the institute, it did so to remove what was then a major challenge to competitiveness in the industrial sector — a measurement infrastructure that simply lagged behind what other international economic rivals had.

Today, the institute supports various modern technologies — from very small ones to very complex and large-scale ones.

One of the core competencies of the NIST is the development and use of standards, which applies to cybersecurity threats that organizations big and small, public and private may face.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) 

The NIST has created what it calls a Cybersecurity Framework for industry, government and organizations to reduce cybersecurity risks. The latest version, referred to as CSF 2.0, covers everything that these entities could need and want to create an in-depth cybersecurity mitigation plan.

The NIST provides on its website a wealth of resources related to this, including organizational profiles for creating and using spreadsheets they created, resources specifically for small businesses and for enterprise-level organizations. 

According to the institute, CSF 2.0 is designed to help any organization manage and reduce cybersecurity risks, regardless of the organization’s technical sophistication and maturity level. That being said, it’s not an overarching approach that fits every organization, as each will have unique risks and preferences for approaching cybersecurity.

The NIST says that CSF 2.0 should be used to address an organization’s cybersecurity risks, alongside of other risks to the entity, such as supply chain, technological, physical, financial and privacy risks — to name a few.

The NIST Disaster Recovery Plan Template

Organizations can incorporate guidelines set forth by the NIST in CSF 2.0 to create their well-rounded disaster recovery plans. This will work in tandem with a business continuity plan that will help address not just cybersecurity risks ahead of time, but how to respond to disasters when they happen so you can recover lost or damaged data and keep the business operating as normal.

Following the NIST disaster recovery template and following its principles will provide your organization with a systematic and structured approach to data recovery, which ensures that all aspects of the response to a disaster are calculated as well as effective. 

By doing so, you’ll be more effective at preserving the integrity of your data, minimizing downtime and, in the process, maintaining regulatory compliance and customer trust. 

Part of this template is the Information System Contingency Plan, or ISCP, which are procedures and policies that are designed to maintain or restore business operations. This covers computer operations — at a different location if need be — in case of a disaster, system failure or other type of emergency.

The three phases

There are three main phases of an NIST disaster recovery plan — activation and notification, recovery, and reconstitution. 

Activation and Notification Phases

When your organization’s IT team and/or systems identify a cybersecurity risk is present, they must notify all affected parties and put the disaster recovery plan into action. For instance, if the IT team identifies that a cybersecurity breach has taken place, they immediately must start implementing the NIST-based disaster recovery procedures while simultaneously notifying all other parties so they can assume their assigned roles and responsibilities.

This is stage one of the disaster recovery plan. This phase lays the groundwork for everything else that will follow, including a clear communication plan to staff, vendors and customers as well as activating actual recovery processes.

Recovery Phase

During the recovery phase, the IT team will ensure that all essential data and systems are protected, and begin to initiate any recovery processes to restore data to its original form. 

Depending on what your disaster recovery plan states, and what the incident actually affected, your IT team might need to switch operations to an alternate location and/or start the data recovery process from the current site.

Your IT team should follow the guidelines that are set out in the NIST disaster recovery plan template that you have created, with management checking in on the progress of each as it goes.

Reconstitution Phase

Once the data has been recovered and restored to its original state, it must be reconstituted into the systems so that the business can operate as normal again.

This final phase of the disaster recovery plan will load the data back into the main systems — if need be. It also will incorporate the data back to the main business site, if it were relocated temporarily due to the disaster.

A major part of this phase is communicating clearly with all affected parties at your company so that they can resume their work as normal.

The NIST DRP Template Appendixes

As part of CSF 2.0, the NIST provides multiple template appendixes for more information and reference. This includes descriptions of the core functions, categories and subcategories; the different CSF tiers the institute lays out; as well as a glossary of information included within.

The NIST provides a wealth of information and resources on its website,

Get Help Implementing NIST CSF 2.0

Following the principles, procedures and process set forth by the NIST CSF 2.0 is a great way to ensure your organization is well-protected against cybersecurity risks, and has a plan in place in case disaster strikes.

Creating this plan, and putting it into practice, might be challenging for your organization, depending on its size and IT team. That’s why supplementing your IT team with the experienced professionals at Huntington Technology is such a good idea.

We can help your organization create and implement an in-depth disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan grounded in principles set forth by the NIST. For more information, and a free assessment, please contact us today.