Data is a vital element that helps organizations operate efficiently and achieve their goals. Unfortunately, many organizations risk losing data due to power outages, ransomware, data storage corruption, storms, floods, and fires.
When a disaster strikes, the business can lose revenue, incur expenses, lose productivity, and might even close its doors in the long run. Statistics show that 40 percent of small businesses fail to resume operations after a disaster. It also shows that 25 percent of those who reopen do not last for a year. Therefore, an organization needs to create a disaster recovery plan to avoid the stress and worry that comes when a disaster strikes. Read on to learn more about disaster recovery.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented and structured plan that guides an organization in quickly resuming operations after a disaster. It is an essential element that businesses should consider to enable them to recover critical data no matter the kind of disaster strikes.
With an effective DRP, you will not have to worry about data loss, network disruptions, loss of revenue, or a damaged reputation of your organization.
The Elements of a Data Recovery Plan
A solid data recovery plan should include multiple elements that highlight how the business will resume operations after a disaster. Here are the elements to include in your plan.
- Business goals: DRP should rank what data is most important and how quickly you will resume operations.
- Data backup processes: Determine where and how to backup and recover data after a disaster.
- IT infrastructure Includes the organization's hardware and software systems essential in the data recovery processes.
- Team involvement: This should consist of staff members and alternate phone numbers and emails who will oversee the processes to ensure the business resumes operations quickly.
- Disaster recovery time: How much time will pass before you resume operations after a disaster.
- Data recovery point: Determine how far back in time you are willing to go to get a clean restore point of the data.
- DRP testing: Annual or semi-annual testing to determine how prepared you are for emergencies.
It is always best to have data recovery elements that you want to include before creating a data recovery plan. These elements function as a guide to ensure that whatever you cover in your plan is effective and solid.
Tips to Create and Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan
Establish Recovery Goals
The first and most vital element is to create the goals you want to achieve when a disaster strikes. The goals should include the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). The two give a clear breakdown of when to recover data, determine how much data is lost, and how to recover it. Setting goals also helps you determine the limits of a data recovery plan.
Seek Help from IT Experts
Once you set your goals, it is best to involve experts with in-depth IT experience and expertise. This is not a one-person job. Doing it alone may not give you effective results and can also frustrate your recovery processes.
Luckily, an experienced IT expert such as Total Computer Solutions has adequate knowledge and expertise in disaster recovery. The expert will guide and advise you on the critical elements of a disaster recovery plan and ensure that you create a plan customized to your business's needs.
Identify Critical Areas in Your Organization
It is best to identify the most critical operations in your business that would be most affected if your organization experiences interruption. This includes how the disruption will affect your customers and business reputation.
Analyzing these elements enables you to determine suitable measures and strategies to address the effects of a disaster. It is best to consult with your organization's leaders to identify risks that may affect each department. It would be best if you also assigned someone to be responsible for ensuring that everything goes as planned.
Create a Communication Plan
How do you intend to communicate with your team after a disaster? For example, you had a fire that damaged the building, and you intend to close the business for a while as you devise ways to resume operations. In this case, it is vital to set up clear communication channels that you will use to communicate with your team and inform them about the next course of action.
If the phone system gets disrupted due to the disaster, you should have an alternative way to reach out to your staff. You should also consider communicating with your customers if the disaster caused a data breach. Fortunately, you can outsource your IT infrastructure to a third party with a streamlined phone system to manage your communication processes.
Involve Your Employees
Employees are the backbone of your business. Therefore, it would be best to inform them about your intention to create a disaster recovery plan and how it will benefit the organization. It keeps your staff in the loop, and they will be prepared if a disaster strikes.
The most effective way to involve your employees is by introducing a disaster recovery test that resonates with the company culture. This helps you determine the level of your employees' preparedness.
You should also conduct continuous training and awareness programs to remind the employees about staying prepared should a disaster strike. Again, an experienced IT professional can help build processes, train your team, and follow up to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Test and Implement Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Once ready with all elements at hand, you should now go on and create and implement your DRP. Since the process involves multiple components, it is best to let an IT professional such as Total Computer Solutions help you. The expert will create an effective plan, test, implement it and ensure there are no gaps. In addition, the expert will identify communication gaps, security gaps, and other issues to make your DRP more effective.
Speak to a Third-Party IT Professional
The best way to avoid issues with your IT systems is to implement critical measures to guide and protect your business after a disaster. Involving a professional can save you time and money in the long run. You will not have to worry about the ineffectiveness of a DRP because an expert ensures that the plan speaks to your IT needs and helps you achieve your goals in the long run. Planning to create a disaster recovery plan and secure your business in the future? Contact us today for a free consultation.