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5 Questions You Need to Ask About Backup and Disaster Recovery

By: Total Computer Solutions

Disaster Recovery Plan

As a business owner, understanding backup and disaster recovery is accepting that anything could happen. It is not just about storms and floods—your best IT guy could fall sick, malware could encrypt all your live data, or an employee could delete shared folders.

You can foresee all the possible disasters that threaten your business' data and IT infrastructure, so how do you place an affordable disaster recovery plan that works when you need it most? 

These are the five critical questions you need to ask yourself about your backup processes and disaster recovery preparedness.

Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan on Paper?

Do you have a practical, step-by-step plan for when a disaster strikes? In a catastrophic event, a disaster recovery plan is part of your business continuity plan

The disaster recovery plan starts by conducting a Risk Assessment (RA) in which you predict potential risks to your business and strategy for each of them.

Your risk assessment should cover both natural and manufactured events, the probability of each scenario occurring, and the consequences of each. This will define your level of preparedness and response to each risk factor.

Your risk assessment will guide your disaster recovery plan, but it shouldn't be technology-based only. Whether accounting for small and large disasters, your plan should account for people, strategy, facilities, processes, applications, and data.

Such a plan does not just outline how to get back your backups online. You also need to maintain essential business functions such as communication, electronic payment systems, disbursement of money, and employees. 

The plan will have detailed information about your most critical systems and how to restore them and ensure service delivery. It will be so clear and straightforward that anyone with some knowledge could set it up after a disaster. 

Has My Disaster Recovery Plan Been Tested?

Do not just stop at having a detailed disaster recovery plan. Instead, test your plan repeatedly, several times a year. Make sure that you can recover your data in a usable state and that you can restore core business functions as quickly as possible to minimize loss. 

Better still, have separate Incident Response (IR) plans for cybersecurity breaches such as ransomware and hacking attacks. These detailed procedures help you cope with common IT incidents and mitigate data loss and exposure. 

An IR plan is easier to update to keep up with evolving threats and is part of a more comprehensive data protection strategy. Your IR, DR, and overall Business Continuity plans should all list the specific roles of every team member, and these roles should be tested at every drill.

Test your plan at least two times a year, preferably every quarter depending on your business needs. You should also train your staff on disaster preparedness and recovery to ensure that they are ready when needed. 

Such robust preparedness is the only way to make sure that things go right when you need them to. Here are five other points your training and testing should cover:

  • Crisis Management and Communication
  • Emergency Action
  • IT Data Recovery
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Natural Catastrophe Response

How Many Disruptions Can Your Business Handle?

If your most critical equipment or systems went down now, how long would you survive before your losses become catastrophic? Fundera reports that 40% of SMBs experienced at least eight hours of downtime after a cyber attack. 

Worse, 60% of small businesses fold after a severe cyberattack. Even a minor disruption can cause costly damages in lost working hours, reputation, recovery expenses, so you need to think about your Recovery Time Objective (RPO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

Recovery Time Objective defines how quickly you can recover your business functions after a disaster. For example, an RTO of one hour means that you should be able to resume normal operations within an hour or less or experience a disaster. 

On the other hand, your RPO is about how much data you can afford to lose in a disaster without seriously impacting your business. Therefore, the time and cost of lost data and functionality will inform how much to invest in a quality DRP.

Additionally, you should talk with your backup and disaster recovery service provider and agree on your expectations. These should be captured in realistic service level agreements, and you will have peace of mind about your business continuity in the case of a disaster.

Does Your DR Plan Adapt to Changing Needs?

Your disaster recovery plan needs to adapt and grow as your business grows and changes. One of the biggest concerns you might have is scalability and sudden business disruptions, which is why many enterprises opt for cloud data backup and recovery plans.

When many businesses shifted to remote work during the pandemic, many had obsolete DRPs. In addition, remote workers needed to access data, there was less control over individual security protocols, and many users worked on personal IT equipment. 

Such disruptive changes in the business environment necessitate a periodic review of your disaster recovery plan. Most businesses can do so quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. However, some sensitive companies require monthly or weekly reviews to reflect growing threats.

Luckily, you do not have to review the whole plan every time. Some best practices for updating your disaster recovery plan include:

  • Create a review schedule for your DRP.
  • Identify specific change factors that require frequent review. These include software updates, regulatory and policy changes, changes in staffing and access, new facilities or sites, among others. 
  • Always analyze incident data after minor and major IT events as a learning experience to improve your DRP strategy.
  • Keep up with compliance requirements and regulatory changes, especially those involving data protection and privacy.

What Will Be the Cost of Backup and Disaster Recovery Management?

Whether you create in-house backup and disaster recovery processes or outsource this service, it will come with a recurrent price tag. From the price of storage, software, personnel, and other costs, you could pay about $1,000 per month as a small business.

The cost of disaster recovery depends on the frequency of your backup, how much data you have backed up, and the vendor who handles your data. If you can afford it, pay premium rates for faster RPOs and RTOs and a reputation for data protection and privacy. However, compared to the cost of downtime and data loss in the case of a breach or disaster, the cost of backup and recovery is always worth it. 

According to data gathered by The Hosting Tribunal, the average cost of downtime across all business sizes is $8,000 per hour for small businesses. Sadly, 40%–60% of companies will not reopen after catastrophic data loss.

Having that in mind, a good data recovery plan for under $1,000 with a few hours of downtime is excellent. It gives you both affordability and a chance to survive disasters, but faster recovery will be more expensive.  

It Is Not Just About Disaster Recovery

Like you, most businesses struggle with the cost factor of running a well-defined backup and disaster recovery plan. That's the #1 reason you should consider outsourcing your backup and disaster recovery. 

At Total Computer Solutions, we offer best-in-class solutions to keep your technology secure, reliable, and recoverable. We use a proactive approach to prevent threats, but our best feature is that we do all that affordably.

We invest heavily in workforce and technology to keep our client's highly sensitive data secure, which trickles down to a small cost for each client.

Request your free consultation now, and let's talk about your IT needs as we create a personalized backup and disaster recovery plan just for you.

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