When it comes to your business’s IT system, a disaster could strike at any time. Without a disaster recovery plan in place, data loss can be detrimental to your business, with potentially devastating results that culminate in costly periods of downtime and serious financial loss. However, you can successfully mitigate the risks associated with any type of disaster with a good disaster recovery plan in place.
The following are some key elements of a thorough and ultimately successful disaster recovery plan.
1. Disaster Recovery Audits
One of the best ways to determine how to begin with a disaster recovery plan is to conduct an audit of your IT system, which can assess all potential risks both big and small that could result in a disaster. Even a perceivably unlikely scenario could lead to a disaster, so it’s better to be aware of all possible issues to ensure you’re consistently prepared.
2. Specific Role Assignments and Good Communication
Effective communication is everything in the event of any kind of disaster, and having a plan in place that everyone in your company understands can help maintain that communication. A solid disaster recovery plan will have all the latest employee contact information, and each employee will understand his or her role when carrying out that plan.
Some of the specific responsibilities that designated employees may have in a disaster recovery plan could include:
- Gauging the total damage caused by the disaster
- Redirecting all phones
- Setting up workstations
3. Data Continuity
You will also need to understand what the business needs to run optimally, with the ability to meet all supply, operational, communications, and financial needs.
Regardless of the size and scope of your business, or whether you’re a B2B or B2C enterprise, you should always have documentation of your specific needs to enable you to maintain continuity across all of your data. Doing so will make sure your disaster recovery plan goes accordingly as it accounts for every component in your business.
4. A Plan for All Equipment
It’s important to know how to protect all equipment in the event of a physical disaster. Make sure all equipment is protected from a potential hurricane or another type of impending storm by moving it to a secure room with no windows. You should also wrap all equipment in plastic to keep it from getting wet at any point. While securely sealing all equipment is the best defense against flooding, this may not always be an option depending on the severity of the storm and the ability to prepare. Regardless of what happens to your equipment in a disaster, having a detailed account of all of your assets will help you recover.
5. Inventory of All Assets
Disaster preparation plans should include an in-depth inventory of all workstations along with hardware such as servers, computers, scanners and printers, smartphones, desktop phones, tablets, and other types of technology that your team regularly uses. Having an inventory of all of your equipment will allow you to quickly reference it when filing an insurance claim with your adjuster. An exhaustive list and photos of your assets will make the process a lot less daunting. Remember to add to your inventory as you acquire new hardware or equipment that your office uses, which will help eliminate the need to start a new list if you lose track of what your business utilizes.
6. Photographs of All Equipment Together and in Use
To complement your inventory list of all assets, take photos of the assets collectively in the office setting. When preparing for a disaster, make sure you have photographs of all equipment while still set up to illustrate how your office and each employee used the equipment in your inventory. Follow this with photos of the office after disaster preparation, which will help prove that you did what you could to protect your assets from harm.
7. Data Backup Checks
Data backup will do you no good if your backup system isn’t functioning unbeknownst to you and your employees. When developing a disaster recovery plan, check to make sure your backup system is actually working. You may also need another local backup system in addition to cloud-based backup. Perform backup checks well before any anticipated disasters, which will give you more time to prepare your backup and ensure that all data is protected and stored away from the area that may be affected.
Keeping data stored on a secure external hard drive can also help you mobilize your data when you need to without any compromise in security.
8. Reliable Recovery Plan and Effective Communications with Your Vendor
Following any kind of disaster, it’s important to get up and running again as soon as you can to avoid costly downtime. One of the keys to this will be to maintain good communication with vendors. Contact your vendor to determine if local outages or power surges are likely as they work to repair any damage to the power systems. In addition to power supply companies, you will also want to speak with your internet service provider and telecom providers for information about how to restore service.
All of these elements can contribute to a secure and dependable disaster recovery plan. Remember that you need to account for every detail, as any even seemingly small detail that’s overlooked could be detrimental to your plan’s performance and your ability to recover. There can be many steps and elements involved when developing a disaster recovery plan, which is why it may be best to work with a managed IT service provider that can help guide you through the process. Working with experts who have plenty of experience developing and implementing disaster recovery plans can mean the difference between devastation and a minor inconvenience if your business encounters a disaster.
If you are experiencing an IT Emergency or are simply in need of a reliable disaster recovery plan, give us a call. We can work with you remotely and fix the problem so that you can access your data no matter where you are in the world!