In just one years’ time, the entire continental US can be battered with tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or winter blizzards. These acts of mother nature not only damage the environment, they can also devastate a company’s IT infrastructure. With so many dangers just a storm cloud away, it’s almost unbelievable that only 25% of small to mid-sized businesses have a disaster recovery plan (or DRP) integrated into their system. A well-rehearsed and comprehensive DRP can save a company thousands of dollars in the event of a disaster. Additionally, it will also streamline the process of getting back up and running following the disaster.
Of course, not all disasters are a result of nature’s fury. Some come at the hands of other people and can include theft, robbery, and acts of terrorism. These five tips will help you prepare your business for the worst.
Every company’s DRP should be complete with adequate documentation listing the entirety of the plan. This should include information such as emergency contacts, succession planning, and what to do in the event of the worst case scenario (i.e., if the back-up, back-up plan fails). Though the initial creation of a DRP may end up being a rather sizable investment, it could mean the difference between being one of the companies that recovers or one of the 10% that fails after a disaster.
One of the most important aspects of any DRP is understanding and outlining the threats your organization may face and what impact said threats could have on both the daily operation and long term success of the company. As an example, if your company’s sales and marketing tactics are purely phone-based and your phone system goes down, that can severely hinder the inner workings of the entire company. However, once this is recognized it can be suggested that personal cellular phones may be used as a temporary solution.
To address these concerns in your official DRP, follow these steps:
- Compile a list of potential disasters.
- Rank each event by possibility of occurrence in your area.
- Identify the severity of impact each disaster would have on your business.
- Briefly outline possible results from each disaster.
Compiling this list will set up a framework of sorts for what issues you will need to address in the plan.
Prevention, Detection, Correction
Your DRP should include three different key types of measures:
- Preventative – These measures are something of a ‘first line of defense.’ They are put in place to mitigate or totally prevent disastrous events from happening. These measures can include using surge protectors, installing remote generators, keeping backed-up data stored off site, and conducting routine inspections.
- Detective – These measures are used to detect or uncover disastrous events. They can include things such as installing fire alarms, holding employee training sessions, and installing up-to-date virus protection on all company computers.
- Corrective – Finally, corrective measures focus on the restoration of company systems following a disaster. These measures can include things such as keeping critical documents in your DRP, or securing proper insurance policies.
A study conducted by Kroll Ontrack found that 65% of businesses experience data loss from disasters and virtual environments. Data loss can be a result of file corruption, the deletion of virtual machines, virtual disk corruption, storage/server hardware failures, and accidentally deleted or corrupt files. When signing with a third party vendor to manage your data back-ups, be sure to ask:
- Who exactly will be managing my data?
- How will the data be backed up?
- What happens if you lose my data?
Once all the pieces of your DRP have come together, it’s time to give it a trial run. All workers and employees should be properly versed in their roles in the plan. Additionally, they should feel comfortable in the fulfillment of their role.
Once the test has concluded, immediately address any issues you may have run into. A company’s tech area is constantly changing, which is why it’s so important to have a proper and up-to-date recovery plan. Global IP Networks can assist your company in maintaining a concise and up-to-date DRP. If you would like to know more about what we can do for your business, we welcome you to visit our website. Additionally, if you have any questions feel free to contact us directly.