For an organization without an incident in your past, disaster recovery planning and documentation may seem like an exercise in futility. How can you possibly guess what type of issues will occur in the future — much less plan for them? It’s a proven fact that less than half of small businesses are able to fully recover after an incident, with the remaining 40% closing their doors forever. Even so, 68% of these same organizations have not put a disaster recovery plan in place, potentially resulting in an extended closure or extensive costs in the event of a disaster. Ensuring that your business is able to continue operations after a disaster requires sophisticated planning and a firm understanding of the situations that could occur after a disaster event.
IT leader, Bryan Ferrario from St. Louis IT services company, Alliance Technology Partners shares how to put a plan in place that will keep business operational after a cybersecurity incident, natural disaster or data breach.
Costs of Downtime
Every business experiences downtime in some measure throughout the year, caused by everything from software patches and upgrades to power outages. These short-term outages are a bit frustrating but are usually resolved post haste, and offer only a minor taste of the challenges associated with a major outage. The hidden costs of a lengthy outage are painful and can run thousands of dollars per hour on top of the visible costs of lost productivity and remediation. These intangible costs can be difficult to quantify, but they are pervasive and can the ongoing problems associated with your disaster can put a damper on the efficiency of your operations for months or even years in the future. As technology solutions rise in complexity and integrations become more common, it will be that much more difficult to bring a business back online. The promise of the cloud is that you can spin your business back up quickly from a remote location, but few organizations have quite made it to that level of sophistication.
Be Aggressive at Justifying a Disaster Recovery Strategy
With the urgency of many other technology projects, it may be difficult to bring people together around the importance of creating a disaster recovery strategy but it’s crucial that you continue to enumerate the benefits of aggressive business recovery planning. If your business at least has a data recovery strategy in place, you’re a step ahead but still nowhere near where you need to be with a comprehensive recovery solution. Once you have justified the need for your disaster recovery plan, getting started often begins with a thorough audit of your current business data, software and other assets as well as defining the communication channels that you want to utilize during and immediately after a disaster.
Create a Proactive Disaster Recovery Plan
Finalizing your audit of current technology and personnel assets is only the first step in creating a proactive disaster recovery strategy. Next, you’ll undertake a business impact analysis that should list your required recovery times, define functions that are at-risk during a disaster and also determine the potential costs associated with the disaster recovery efforts. Once you have that information in place, you’ll also want to plan for specific events while defining steps to be taken immediately as well as further along in the recovery tasks. One of the most critical requirements of a successful disaster recovery process is ensuring that you outline responsibility by individual and ensure that there are backups for each of those staff members or contractors.
Disasters aren’t limited to cybersecurity incidents, they could include everything from a major fire or flood to an ice storm that knocks out power and internet access at your office location. Each of these situations requires a unique set of responses by individuals within your organization, and a coordinated effort is crucial to ensure that you’re able to adequately service customers and provide staff members a way to be productive during the disaster event. While there are no guarantees that your business will be able to successfully recover from a disaster, having a well-rehearsed strategy in place provides your business with a fighting chance to survive.