Expect the unexpected when it comes to technology, right? We think there’s a perfect balance between optimism and preparing for the worst, and it comes in the form of a solid disaster recovery plan!
When IT support or business owners talk about disaster recovery plans (DRP) it usually stops at making backups of your data in case you run into a hardware failure or some other emergency that knocks out your technology. But having a DRP goes beyond simply backing up your data. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there are some essentials we want to cover in this blog so you can be prepared for anything that comes your way.
Let’s start with the basics—backups are vital, but only a small part of a DRP. Disaster recovery is essentially being prepared for anything that could potentially shut down your business or interrupt your day-to-day operations. This includes natural disasters, hardware failures, security breaches, and even human error or malicious intent by someone on your team or in your organization.
And since human error is a major element in 95% of data breaches, every business needs to be aware of the security gaps and vulnerabilities their team is creating. We get it—hackers are good at what they do! We’ve all fallen for the animal shelter email scams, clicked on a link that we shouldn’t have, or shared some confidential information without thinking twice.
But a DRP will help you know exactly what to do when disaster strikes and most importantly, who is going to do what.
The short answer: yes! Any business that has data, whether it’s online or stored in-person, needs a DRP. The real question is not whether you need one or not, but what kind you need and how extensive it needs to be.
Having a DRP doesn’t mean you expect the worst, it just means that you’re ready for whatever comes your way. And the truth is, no matter what industry you’re in or how big your business is, certain risks come with working online and using technology. It’s the price we pay for better collaboration and productivity (and online shopping—we wouldn’t want to go without that either).
There are 5 essential elements to every DRP:
1. Your DRP team
2. A risk evaluation
3. Business continuity assets
4. Data backups
5. Vulnerability assessments & testing
Disaster Recovery Team
The first step in building your disaster recovery plan is deciding who will be a part of the team. This should include representatives from all teams and departments, as well as IT management partners. With everyone’s input, you can create an action plan that takes into account all of your business needs, so when disaster does strike, you’ll be prepared.
Once you’ve decided who will be on your DRP team, it’s time to take a closer look at the risks that could put your business in jeopardy. This includes physical threats like flooding or fires, as well as digital threats such as cyberattacks and ransomware. Decide how the team members will respond to each threat and the resources they’ll need to do so. For example, if there’s a flood, who will be the point person to coordinate the cleanup and restoration efforts?
Business Continuity Assets
This is where your real planning comes in, and where the help of a managed service provider will really come in handy. You’ll outline which of your systems and resources are the most important for your business continuity, or for keeping your business running during an event. It could include anything from your local servers, files, or security software to the mobile devices you use for remote access.
It’s then important for the team to understand exactly what needs to be done to keep those systems going or to get them up and running again, along with timelines for completion. Downtime can cost up to $5,600 a minute, so getting your most important systems back up is a matter of thousands.
Decide how often you’ll back up your data, where those managed backups will be stored, and who is responsible for making sure it gets done at the right time.
Testing & Optimizing
Finally, put your DRP to the test, not just once but regularly. Running tests will help you stay on top of vulnerabilities and keep your plan up-to-date. And remember that continuous optimization is key!
Having a strong disaster recovery plan in place can make all the difference when something comes along to test your patience. So take the time to create a plan that works for you, and stay prepared for whatever comes your way.
Although disasters can really test your business, preparing for them helps you get to know exactly what your business needs to serve your customers. Cyberattacks and natural disasters lose their edge because even though you don’t want to use your DRP, you’ve got one waiting just in case.
And the best way to create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that goes off without a hitch? Consulting with a managed service provider like Nexus IT. You’ll not only get access to expert strategic planning for your DRP, but we can also help you monitor for threats and stop them before they reach the disaster level.
We’ve helped save thousands of dollars and cut down on hundreds of hours of downtime with our customized DRPs for our clients—let us help you too! Schedule a consultation today to find out if we’d make a good partner for your disaster recovery plan.