Businesses of every size face potential disasters every day that could bring them to the brink of destruction. For some, the disasters are natural - think hurricanes or earthquakes - but for others, it's human errors and cyberattacks. No matter the disaster, any of these issues could be a costly disruption to your business. While most large businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place, small businesses tend to push off this sort of task until it's too late.
With the dawn of the new decade, it is time for small and mid-sized businesses to get their disaster recovery plans set up to ensure their continued success in the event of a problem. Here are some tips to make your disaster recovery plan worth the paper it's written on.
- What are your risks? It may seem like a silly exercise, but consider all of the risks that may be out there to your business. It could be as simple as a power outage or as complex as a multi-layered ransomware attack. But it's important to brainstorm all of the possible issues that could happen so you know what you are dealing with. Use things like your location, industry and commonly used technology to refine those ideas even further.
- What parts of your business need to be operational first in a disaster? All of them isn't the answer here. You have to prioritize what departments are most important for business to progress and make a list that ranks the departments by most to least important for simple business to happen. It doesn't mean that marketing isn't important if they are ranked last; it means that you can live without them for a day or two. The ranking will create a list of what needs to be fixed first, and how your team can progress through the list.
- Who are your disaster recovery teammates? When something bad happens, it is human nature for everyone to pull together to work through the problem. By building a disaster recovery team, you can easily define who within your business is responsible for each aspect of your plan, and if a crisis strikes, the team can quickly assemble and begin the process of getting back to business.
- Practice, practice, practice! Having a disaster recovery plan is a fantastic start, but if you don't practice what needs to happen in the event of a disaster, you can never really know how the plan will work. Just like with fire drills, having practice drills for your disaster recovery plan will allow your teammates to work through kinks and see areas for improvement. To start with, schedule your drills, but as you get more familiar with the process, try having some unscheduled drills. This will truly allow you to see your areas of strength and weakness and work towards perfecting your process. The likelihood that a disaster will happen may be small, but rest assured that eventually your business will be faced with an actual crisis, and knowing how to handle it will be imperative to your future success.
- Make plan updates as needed. Your disaster recovery plan will never be a completed process. As new forms of technology are added to your business, you'll have to take them into account and how they'll be worked into the plan. Always keep in mind that your plan will be evolving and changing, so be sure to review it regularly and update accordingly.
- Have a reliable data backup system in place. Disaster recovery can only be successful if you have a data backup system in place. Whether cloud based, on-premise or a combination of the two, your data backup system is the best way to ensure your business gets back up and running quickly in a crisis. It is important to use a highly-rated provider for your data backup services, so be sure do your research! Check out the Security Scorecard's latest ratings to see how data backup services measure up to one another.
With a tried and tested disaster recovery plan and a secure data backup system, your business stands the best chance to recover and thrive after a disaster occurs. Fraser Advanced Information Systems provides businesses of every size with efficient, reliable and cost-effective data backup solutions.