In an ideal world, your business will never have to deal with disaster, but the chances of this happening are pretty slim. Natural disasters, hacks, employee mistakes, system outages and a whole host of other unexpected disruptions could strike at any minute, threatening your company’s survival.
Although prevention is better than a cure, not every issue can be planned for, which is why many businesses are adopting an IT disaster recovery plan to help mitigate the effects of disruption. A reliable disaster recovery plan will back up your vital systems and data and get you back on track as quickly as possible – which could save you thousands of dollars in lost revenue and prevent untold reputational damage.
What should your IT disaster recovery plan look like?
Essentially, disaster recovery plans should give you a detailed plan of action before, during and after disruption. On a human level, it means having a dedicated disaster recovery team that includes employees from all levels of the business and across all teams. They should undergo regular training to ensure that they know their precise role in the event of disruption. Which members of staff are informing affected customers in the event of a hack and which members of staff are in charge of restoring core processes when they go down?
Alongside this human response, digital tools will also form a major part of any effective disaster recovery plan. Software can be used to carry out risk assessment, performance monitoring and security checks. Data collection will also prove crucial, and can be used to analyse your business processes and tell you which ones should be prioritised when disaster strikes.
You may also wish to enlist third-party help with your disaster recovery. Embracing cloud-based recovery, such as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), lets your business benefit from real-time back up and expert consultancy to help you with your plans.
How to keep your plan up to date
Finding the time and resources to keep your recovery plan up to date is not easy, particularly if you have yet to suffer any major disruptions. However, neglecting your plans could be costly when disaster does occur. Instead, you should regularly test your plans to check them for reliability and efficiency.
You can test your plans in a multitude of ways. Firstly, through a simple checklist test. Go through your core processes one by one and make sure they are included in your recovery plans. As your business grows, you may find that you’ve left out a new tool or app from your recovery proposals. Another method is to carry out a mock disruption, either via a simulation or scheduled downtime. By analysing the results of your tests and asking your staff for feedback you can determine whether your disaster recovery plan includes everything it needs and what areas can be improved upon.
Getting your IT disaster recovery plan in order may not seem like a priority right now, but when disruption strikes it will be too late to act. Keeping your plan regularly updated is a necessity, not a luxury.