What is Disaster Recovery?
A disaster recovery plan is a document that details how your business will recover from a catastrophic event. When you’re sure that all of your employees are safe and sound after a disaster strikes, implementing your disaster recovery plan should be your first order of business. An organization’s method of regaining access and functionality to its IT infrastructure after events like a natural disaster, cyberattack, or even business disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a critical component of your disaster recovery plan.
Ensure that you have a printed version of your plan in a safe and accessible off-site location. In the event of a disaster, you may not be able to access an electronic version, so a printed version is vital for a successful recovery.
A variety of disaster recovery (DR) methods can be part of a disaster recovery plan.
How do you know if you need a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Think of it as insurance. Everyone needs it, and not enough people have it.
You should expect that business will suffer a cyberattack, phishing, water damage, and other events that disrupt your business operations in today’s business environment. The scale of the event depends on your preventative measures and action steps.
What does Disaster Recovery entail?
A disaster recovery plan looks different for every business. A small office with one computer may have its critical files remotely backed up. A larger office may use the cloud for their network and other equipment designed as a sophisticated DR solution.
Things to Consider for Disaster Recovery:
You are not responsible for knowing what you need. You should have a consultation with a Managed Services Partner (MSP) to review your technology, business communications systems, equipment, and processes. They will advise you of the best disaster recovery plan for your business.
As you work with your Technology Partner, consider the following:
- Data Continuity Plan for Information Systems. Document and understand where exactly your data is stored, who has access, and what data is vital to business operations versus non-critical files or systems. For a truly effective data continuity plan, you’ll need to ensure that your business utilizes regularly scheduled image backups of your servers and critical workstations. Preferably these need to be in the cloud or off-site to ensure a backup copy is always available and unaffected by a local event.
- Temporary Backup Server Strategy
- Internet and Business Communications Failover
- IT Vendor Communication & Service Restoration Process
- A review of your current DR plan
- What information can you afford to lose without disrupting your business?
- What infrastructure do you need to operate during a business disruption? (Access to server, files, software, business phone system)
- Do you have everything saved or stored in the same location?
- Who is responsible for coordinating and managing the backups?
- Who knows where all critical information (passwords, licenses, etc.) is stored?
- Do you have a list of contacts to use in an emergency? (Internal personnel, IT service, building support, etc.)
Common Disaster Recovery Mistakes:
- Not having a DR plan- especially for your business technology and communications.
- Determining needs without guidance from your IT support team
- Having everything in one physical place
- Keeping equipment on the floor, instead of in a rack or on a shelf
- Lack of proper ventilation or access to equipment
- Poor record-keeping for passwords, licenses, and other important information
- Not developing your plan in consultation with a Managed IT Service Provider who can objectively walk through each step with you
What it comes down to is Prevention. That is your best disaster recovery strategy. Technology can only protect you to an extent. Some disasters are uncontrollable, such as weather, and others are avoidable. Even so, if you have the proper storage, backup, and other recovery items in place, you drastically increase the likelihood that your business will not skip a beat when your office floods, loses power, or your data is hacked.
At some point, however, human error will compromise your business. Over 70% of attacks last year were perpetrated with the help of an employee within the organization. In most instances, this was an unintentional error, but not always. The employee may have clicked a dangerous link without knowing it or shared their password with the wrong person.
Having a disaster recovery plan is insurance for your business continuity. Start planning your recovery today so that your business is covered tomorrow.