In this digital age, there are two types of businesses: those that have had a disaster and those that will. There are countless ways in which your data or systems can be compromised. That’s why it’s critical to have a disaster recovery plan (DRP) in place. A DRP will give your business a guide to follow if the worst happens. It can even end up saving your business.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Let’s start by breaking down the technicalities of a disaster recovery plan. A DRP is a step-by-step guide on how to return your business to full capacity following a disaster. It is highly individualized and should be unique to your business.
In a DRP, there will be 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 in making sure that you have safety measures and backups in place to protect your data and try to prevent disasters in the first place. However, some disasters are not preventable. By having a DRP in place, you will make sure that your business has safeguards to protect against and recover from disasters quickly and efficiently.
Common Types of Disasters
There are a variety of events that could impact your business continuity. A few at the top of the list include:
- Hardware failure
- Software corruption
- Cyber attacks
- Power outages
- Natural disasters
- Theft — employee theft being the most common
Any one of these potential disasters could have a significant impact on your business. Make sure you prepare your organization for recovery with a DRP.
What Should You Include in Your Disaster Recovery Plan?
The most important thing to consider when making a DRP is what you will need to recover first if everything fails. 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. This will provide a sort of roadmap for your DRP. Also, 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. Whose daily functions are essential to the running of 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 and escalation lists saved somewhere in the cloud along with a physical copy in the office. This will ensure that no matter the disaster, you still have valuable contact information accessible.
Lastly, once you have made a DRP, 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 DRP
When creating a DRP, it’s crucial to include every system in your plan. However, some systems, unfortunately, get forgotten. Commonly, one or more of the following systems get overlooked:
- Phones — the most commonly overlooked system
- Customer-facing websites
- SMS employee phone numbers — some programs allow you to send mass texts to employees when a disaster happens to keep everyone in the loop if email or servers are down.
Make sure to include these systems in your disaster recovery plan.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, backups are the holy grail of computing and disaster recovery plans. More specifically, consistent and automatic cloud backups. These backups should be at the core of your DRP to protect your data from any disaster.
Business owners are sometimes ware of moving their data to the cloud because of security concerns. However, experts say that cloud backups are safe and more secure 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, and Amazon, to name a few), have whole teams of cybersecurity experts working around the clock with cutting edge technology to keep your data secure.
There are three kinds of backups that you should include in your disaster recovery plan:
- Hardware Backups: Essentially copies of your hardware and data that are automatically backup up on a regular schedule.
- Flat File Backups: Specific backups of important documents from Quickbooks, Excel, Word, and more.
- Images/Replication: These are mirror images of your running operating system. These include all settings, configurations, passwords, security rules, and more. This allows your business to switch over to this replicated operating system seamlessly.
Creating a disaster recovery plan for your business will set you up for success if anything does happen. Preparation is key to getting back up and running quickly and preserving business continuity. Learn more about a DRP and how to create one in this video course, and let us know if you have any questions or need assistance putting your plan together.