Mistake-Proof Your Disaster Recovery Plan 

In the IT world, things are constantly changing and evolving. From the features of devices we heavily rely on to get work done efficiently to the software upgrades that make our lives easier, there is a revolving door of information and new data to consume, almost on a daily basis depending upon your field of expertise.  As data is constantly updated, software changed on a regular basis, and devices are upgraded, it is critical for businesses (large and small alike) to focus on a continuity plan should disaster strike. Sadly, far too many businesses are catastrophically impacted after a disaster according to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency tasked with recovery after a natural or man-made disaster of many kinds.  A recent report posted by FEMA suggests that somewhere “between 40-60 percent of businesses remain closed following a disaster.” Furthermore, nearly “90% of businesses that experience a disaster and don’t resume operations in five days fail within the first year.”  These scary statistics bring into focus the importance of not only having a solid disaster recovery plan but practicing it regularly and updating it as the need arises.  Let’s take a look at ways your business can mistake-proof your disaster recovery plan, what it should include, and examine the scenarios that could make it necessary to activate such a plan. 

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What is Disaster Recovery As a Service? 

One of the services we offer here at Spectra Networks is Disaster Recovery As A Service. Basically what a Disaster Recovery Plan (DR) boils down to is a model for backing up data and IT infrastructure, often through a cloud computing environment in order for a business to have continuity in the face of a catastrophic event or scenario.  Within the last year, we discussed in our blog the impact that data loss and a disaster can have on a small or medium-sized business. We discussed how losing data can cause a cascading list of consequences including loss of time, productivity, reputation, and finances. Some data losses are recoverable, while others can spell disaster for a business as noted by the numbers released above by FEMA.  The “as-a-service” aspect of the Disaster Recovery Plan means that your business does not have to create your own plan, but rather relies on our expertise and experience in how to back up data properly and with our depth of resources. 

What Could Cause A Business Disaster? 

We tend to group disasters in one large heap and treat them in similar ways. While this is true in some aspects of a Disaster Recovery Plan, it is not quite “one-size-fits-all” in many other respects.  Disasters truly come in many forms. There are disasters such as floods, storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and acts of nature that can cripple a business. There are also malicious acts of humans such as malware and ransomware, unexpected equipment failure, system crashes, or failures that can not be foreseen. However, they can be planned for with Disaster Recovery As a Service.  Preparing for one type of disaster does not mean you are ready for another, equally paralyzing type that could be right around the corner. For instance, responding to a malicious ransomware attack would require an altogether different approach than responding to the water damage caused by a flood or other acts of nature. Your business should be ready for each type of scenario. Thankfully, experienced IT Support specialists know that there are the possibilities of many disasters and planning should take all of these into account when creating a detailed Disaster Recovery Plan. 

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Avoid These Disaster Recovery Mistakes 

In order to mistake-proof your Disaster Recovery Plan, we have compiled some suggestions that will help your business as you move forward. 

Test Your Plan

No Disaster Recovery Plan is worth it if it has not been tested. Many businesses invest in the process of developing a plan only to bypass the testing process. Without testing, you will have no idea how effective your plan is and where vulnerabilities lie.  We suggest prioritizing testing under a few conditions to ensure that the plan does work as it was intended. It will also give a window into issues that you may have in the future, should an actual disaster occur.  As you test (and retest), you will be able to get a better idea of how your staff will respond, any problems with the plan, and how much downtime you may have to endure due to a disaster. This knowledge is power, especially when dealing with a disaster.

Prep Your Team 

Employees are your number one asset. They are often the first to know that a disaster is imminent or occurring in real time. Be sure you have communicated with your employees the steps in your DR Plan. They should each know what their role may be or how they need to react. This information can help improve reaction time. 

Secure Your Backups 

Hand-in-hand with a Disaster Recovery Plan is a Backup Plan. Your team and the leadership within should know where your data is stored and where the backup for each field of data is located.  Some businesses tend to secure their backup in the cloud, while others choose an off-site location. Depending on the size and needs of your business you will determine the best backup protocol for your data and infrastructure. 

Consider Remote Access 

Should a physical disaster of any magnitude occur, your building and physical office space may not be able to be accessed. Consider having remote access for each of your leadership team, C-suite, and employees.  Should this scenario occur, communication will be key to keeping everyone on your team informed of the next steps and how you will proceed in the short and long term. 

In Review 

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that the world can change on a dime. Having a plan in order for your business to continue rather than become a statistic is critical. Talk to our team about backup services and creating a detailed Disaster Recovery Plan for your business no matter what the event may be.