According to a report by IT Web, the total cost of data breaches will surpass the $2.1 trillion mark by 2019. Partly due to the laxity of small business when it comes to data security and insurance. They assume this is a necessity for large corporations.
Does your small business have a ready backup plan in case of a disastrous event? Research by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shows that 40% to 60% of small businesses never resume normal operations following a disaster.
Keep in mind disasters span from natural causes to human errors, security breaches, and system failures. These stop the pulse of your business. Before a disaster strikes, you need a detailed and comprehensive disaster recovery plan. The plan acts as a guide to prevent data loss which can be costly and risky.
What is IT disaster recovery plan?
IT disaster recovery plan is a comprehensive document that lays out how your business will protect itself from unforeseen disruptive events. The documented and structured plan highlights clear instructions on what to do in the event of a disaster.
The instructions act as a guide to minimize the impact of a disaster to your business. And allow it to bounce back and resume operations following a disaster. The IT recovery plan evaluates your business impact analysis and risk analysis to establish a recovery time goal and recovery point goal.
Data backup and data recovery ensure minimal data loss, highest productivity in the event of a disaster and optimum uptime. The plan keeps the business safe when trouble strikes.
Here are the key elements you need to consider to create an effective disaster recovery plan for your small business.
What is your Business Strategic Outcome?
IT specialists need to assess how a disaster could affect the company and team up with other stakeholders to craft a detailed disaster recovery strategy. The strategy needs to integrate processes, people and technology. These areas are critical, and it is important to ask critical questions such as:
- How will the organization recover their technology?
- What processes should be in place?
- What redundancies exist at the people’s level?
- To what extent do you need to prove capabilities?
- How will the business communicate with their suppliers and market (business community)?
Create recovery processes for different threat scenarios. Your comprehensive business continuity plan should highlight how your business will respond to and recover from a disaster. You need to test and update it on a regular basis.
What are your Current Business Capabilities & Capacity?
Consider evaluating the following to help you develop the ideal strategy:
- Organization needs and requirements
- Financial budget
- IT Technology
- Human and Physical resources
- Communications strategy
With an effective IT disaster recovery plan in place, your business can recover faster from a disaster. Consider the depth of responsibilities an IT disaster recovery plan entails. Account for the implementation, regular monitoring and maintenance, testing and actual recovery declaration.
What are your unique infrastructure requirements?
Every company’s technology is unique, and there is no ideal one-size-fits-all solution. Address your immediate needs but be flexible enough to allow for future tweaks. Tie your applications into groups of importance.
It helps you to focus on the essential requirements. Address the most critical groups first. You can achieve a balanced budget by investing more in the top critical applications and less on the less critical applications.
Does your plan integrate people and process components?
It is crucial that you account for the staff’s proficiency, system capabilities, budget and bandwidth connection needed to run your disaster recovery plan and the steps to follow when in the event of a disaster declaration. You also need to manage expectations by both the IT department and the business. Some key factor to consider include:
- How long will the recovery process take before normal operations resume?
- Is the target timeline with your IT team capabilities?
- With so many applications coming back online at the same time, in what order should you process each?
Quality assurance is vital for all applications prior to the end user accessing them. Quality testing of your strategies will prevent scrambling during the recovery timeline.
Consider the day-to-day management of the disaster recovery plan. You will need to configure the following:
- Replication to a remote repository
- Upgrading the infrastructure regularly
Documentation for clarity in disaster recovery and preparedness
You need to document disaster recovery tasks and responsibilities in advance so that people know their expectations. IT disaster recovery strategy needs constant nurturing, and you should view your plan as a continuous life cycle from analysis to development, implementation, testing, and iteration. Outline responsibilities for every stage.
Talk to your team about the business declaration and when to declare for specific scenarios. Disasters come in different situations and magnitudes. It could be a malicious attack that leads to a malfunctioned application or a human error that causes a SAN outage and destroys critical software.
Train your team to on how to respond to various types of disruptive events. Their response will depend on the situations you have tested and documented.
Redundancy will speed up your recovery
You need to back up your business’s data including that of your customers in several locations. You need to locate your entire data. Only then can you secure it and back it up. You also need to replicate your files.
With replication, you copy your files from a primary location to a secondary address for access in case a disaster occurs. Vendors with these kinds of solutions include Dell EMC, VMware, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise among others.
Businesses should also consider hyper-converged infrastructure and virtualization to increase the IT’s redundancy. They should also consider backing up data in the cloud. With cloud backups, you are confident your critical data will be available.
Because it replicates to a secondary data location, the secondary site is quite a distance from the primary thus, therefore, get maximum data protection. But this service attracts extra charges and businesses should only consider it if it’s financially feasible.
Businesses should consider setting up virtual desktop environments and network capabilities with mobile devices. Subscribing to several internet service providers also ensures IT redundancy.
With modern technology advancements, you cannot afford to lose your critical business data whether at the hands of human errors, natural disasters or cyber attacks. Data loss is hazardous and costly.
Your small business cannot operate without an efficient disaster recovery plan. You need to back up your data and ensure maximum productivity following a disaster. It is worth it. Be prepared.