Disaster Recovery Planning for Municipal Governments



Disaster strikes when least expected. Natural and cyber catastrophes, such as flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and malware infections, can decimate government systems, halting service delivery and putting valuable data at risk for corruption or loss.

As such, preparation for disaster is just as important as the recovery process. Municipal governments must ensure effective disaster recovery plans (DRPs) are in place to restore the functionality of critical systems and infrastructure and protect crucial data. Integral components of a DRP include: 

  • Prioritized systems and processes for recovery
  • A comprehensive inventory of hardware and software
  • Defined tolerance for downtime and data loss
  • Identified backup personnel
  • A streamlined communication plan

Local governments, in particular, must have citizen information readily available at all times, which makes effective data backups invaluable. This includes backup copies of email data, which can be compromised in the event of a cyber attack or hard drive failure. Some experts recommend following a 3-2-1 backup rule, which dictates that organizations maintain three copies of data, two of which are backed up to different media (e.g., cloud, disk, or tape), and one of which is housed off site. Having multiple backups makes data recovery seamless and reliable.

In essence, well-constructed DRPs allow municipalities to have a sense of security, knowing that a formalized strategy is in place to abate the risk of service delays, streamline communication and decision-making, and minimize stress when disaster strikes.