Historically, many businesses don’t realize the significance of a disaster recovery plan. While the importance of proactively developing a plan is better understood today, organizations often have difficulty figuring out how to start putting one together. Here are five steps to get you going.
1. Obtain organizational buy-in
Businesses often get wrapped up in revenue-driving activities and put disaster planning on the backburner. It’s important the risks associated with not planning for disaster are understood by decision-making personnel. Next, it’s time to get all members of the organization on board.
2. Proactively plan for disaster
You never know when disaster may hit—be it weather, terrorist attack, fire, or even human error—any of which can disrupt your operations. (Specifically consider the threat of earthquakes that we face here in Los Angeles.) While unexpected events can’t be predicted, its effects can be mitigated by proactive planning. Here are a few ways to be proactive:
- Work with a service provider to perform a risk assessment to determine what potential threats your business faces and rank the probability of each one.
- Conduct a business impact analysis. How would disaster affect your business?
- Determine if you need a cold or hot site to set up operations in the event of a disruption?
A disaster recovery plan should have a lead person who runs point in the event of a disaster. However, all staff should provide input as each job contributes to operations. You don’t want to inadvertently overlook an important detail.
3. Protect your technology investment
Most disasters are unpredictable. However, protecting your IT investment shouldn’t be. The time to safeguard your assets and data is before disaster hits. Consider how dependent your business is on its systems running and how it relies on the data stored and processed by your IT equipment. Here’s how to get started protecting your technology:
- List all IT assets
- Classify applications and group data according to criticality—how much downtime is affordable for each?
- Plan a data time recovery/backup objective based on affordable downtime for each class. This means selecting the type of backup (i.e. real-time, daily, or weekly) and determining where the backup data is housed (at least 25 miles away/in the cloud).
Remember, the more frequently backup is performed, the more costly, so you want to consider what data is the most critical and likely to change and schedule backup according to importance (i.e. customer transactions vs. employee addresses).
4. Update as needed
Your disaster recovery plan is a living, breathing document. It should be thoroughly documented and communicated to people who will use it to restore the organization to a working state. The plan should be updated annually.
5. Test regularly
As technology changes, data security and backup needs evolve. As fluctuations in your business occur, new processes and equipment should be reflected in your disaster plan, as changes are likely to affect it. Because your plan is an active document, routinely test to ensure it still works.
While you hope to never actually need your disaster recovery plan, you don’t want to be without one. According to some statistics, up to 90 percent of businesses without a plan will ultimately fail. Want to learn more about how to develop a solid disaster recovery strategy? Contact Monster Technology today to learn more about the steps you can take to safeguard your business data if the unexpected occurs.