One of the worst things about a disaster is that you never know when it will hit or how bad it will be. Certainly, if it’s weather-related, there’s some warning that, say, a hurricane or a tornado is on its way, but meteorologically-related disasters are but one kind of disaster out of so many others.
That’s why it’s important to always be ready for the unexpected. While the power to avert a disaster isn’t in your hands, the ability to recover from it rests completely with your company. That’s why your IT department needs to have a complete disaster recovery plan in place.
Here are the elements of a successful disaster recovery plan.
Do Thorough Backups
When backing up your data, make sure to conform to the Rule of Three. You should make three copies of important data. Use two different formats (flash drive and hard disk, for example), and have one backup stored offsite. After all, if the worst happened and your building was somehow totally ruined, it wouldn’t help you if you had your data stored on two different media and stored on the premises.
Whether you use a cloud-based backup or physically store a copy elsewhere, make sure that one of those backups are stored off-site. If you have reservations about storing a backup in the cloud, don’t worry. As the article “Cloud Service Providers Get Serious About Disaster Recovery” points out, they have increased the frequency of their backups and established tighter security policies.
Create A Well-Defined Plan And Share It
First off, call a meeting made up of representatives from management, IT, security, building management, records, and any other relevant departments, and do an analysis on your company’s vulnerable points, and what measures must be taken to protect them.
Make sure the plan is sent to everyone who either has a part to play or has a need to know. After all, it’s hard for everyone to be on the same page if not everyone has access to that page!
Once you’ve identified the weak spots in your business and come up with the necessary measures, you need to decide what everyone’s particular role is. Who is responsible for data restoration? How about who notifies employees that the business is going to be inaccessible, and what they should do in the meantime?
Prepare A Contact List
Now that you’ve delegated tasks, create a master list of everyone who has a part to play in the recovery process, and make sure you have all of their relevant contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and any other means of contact your company uses.
Secure An Alternate Site
If much of your business is done over phones and online access, then you should prepare an alternate location for running the business while the affected building is out of commission. This site should have phone and Internet access, the equipment needed to handle restored company data, and sufficient space for people to do their jobs. Make sure everyone knows where the alternate location is, and make transportation arrangements if needed.
There is no way to make your business immune to a disaster, but by creating a sound recovery plan, and keeping it up to date, you can certainly mitigate its effects. It pays to plan ahead.