How to Make a Disaster Recovery Plan For Your Business
There are two types of businesses: those that have had a disaster and those that will.
Making a Disaster Recovery Plan
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a step by step guide on how to return your business to full capacity following a disaster. A DRP is highly individualized and will be unique to your business. Include detailed information on how to restore systems, functions, and data if and when it is lost. Also, a large part of having a disaster recovery plan is making sure that you have safety measures and backups in place to protect your data and try to prevent disasters. Some disasters are preventable and others are not. Make sure that your business has safeguards in place to protect against disasters.
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Common Types of Disasters
- Hardware failure
- Software corruption
- Cyber Attacks: Ransomware and others
- Power outages
- Natural disasters
- Theft- employee theft being the most common
40% of businesses close after a disaster
75% of businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan
52% of businesses say it would take at least 3 months to recover
What to Include in Your Plan?
The most important thing to consider when making a disaster recovery plan is, if everything fails, what needs to be brought back first. In other words, what are the most essential functions of your business? From there, do your best to itemize your business functions and systems from most to least important to provide a roadmap when recovering. By establishing what’s mission critical you can save thousands of dollars in recovery costs by recognizing what can wait.
Next, it’s helpful to recognize critical people within your organization. Who’s daily functions are mission-critical to the organization? Try to make a rough list of who in your organization needs to have all of their systems brought on first. This will help to minimize detrimental downtime while recovering.
As part of disaster preparedness, make sure you have your vendor list and escalation lists saved somewhere in the cloud and as a physical copy in the office. This will ensure that no matter the disaster you still have valuable contact information accessible.
Once you have made a plan, make sure to test it. Most plans sound great in theory, but by testing the plan you’re able to find things you may have missed and ensure that your plan is effective.
Important Systems to Include in Your Plan
It’s common that one or more of these systems are overlooked when creating a disaster recovery plan. Make sure to thoroughly prepare for every essential system of your business:
- Phones- Most commonly overlooked system
- Customer facing websites
- SMS employee phone numbers- there are programs that allow you to send mass texts to employees when a disaster happens to keep everyone in the loop if email or servers are down
Holy Grail of Computing and Disaster Recovery Plans
Consistent automatic backups are the core of any good disaster recovery plan. Cloud backups being the preferred method. By using cloud backups you are able to protect your data from any disaster. Business owners are sometimes wary of moving their data to the cloud and fear for its security. However, experts are unanimous in their opinion that cloud backups are safer than internal backups. When you use a cloud provider your data is stored securely in a state of the art data center run by a massive organization. These organizations (Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc.) have whole teams of people working around the clock with cutting edge technology to keep your data secure.
There are three kinds of backups that need to be included in your disaster recovery plan:
- Hardware backups- essentially copies of your hardware and data that are automatically backed up on a regular schedule.
- Flat File Backups- Specific backups of important documents like from Quickbooks, Excel, Word etc.
- Images/Replication- These are a mirror image of your running operating system. These include all settings, configurations, passwords, security rules etc. This allows your business to seamlessly switch over to this replicated operating system instantly. This is the most effective way of avoiding downtime following a disaster.
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