Data loss is a bad thing for any business – something that can not only cause massive inconvenience, but also completely cripple the business, often forcing it to close completely. The businesses that do survive are generally the ones that have prepared for a disaster – those who have invested in safeguarding their future. This article will look through the different steps needed in order to create an effective IT disaster recovery plan, so you and your business will suffer as little as possible in the event of catastrophic data loss.
While creating a disaster recovery plan is absolutely essential, it should not be the only thing done by a business. Equally as important is developing a relationship with a disaster recovery expert, who is ready to step in when needed. Don’t wait for disaster to strike before calling them though: instead, get in touch as soon as possible, so that they can understand your business before they’re called into action.
Understand Any Threats
Before you can start a disaster recovery plan, you first need to understand what you’re protecting yourself from. So, for example, an IT network will have things such as viruses, hardware malfunction and user error as some of the top threats it faces. Specific types of business might also have specific threats though, so there is no comprehensive answer that can be applied universally.
It’s not just enough to understand what the threats are though, as you also need to understand the consequences that they could have. So, going back to the virus, how could it affect your business? Well, there’s the chance of data becoming corrupted and therefore inaccessible; there’s the threat that private data will be stolen; or there’s the chance that money could be fraudulently siphoned from your accounts. Only once you understand the consequences can you go about preventing them.
Put Protective Measures in Place
The old adage “prevention is better than cure” certainly applies when it comes to IT networks. After all, if you can stop something from happening in the first place, disruption will be kept to a minimum. Continuing with the virus example, prevention could include installing effective anti-virus software on all computers. Of course, some preventative measures aren’t as simple as this though, which is where calling a professional can pay dividends.
Proactively Search for Problems
Some issues can lie dormant for a while, before then popping up and causing problems. Looking for them – and finding them – can therefore stop them before they develop. A simple example of this would be installing a fire alarm in a server room. With it, you’ll hopefully be able to locate any fire before it becomes disastrous; without it, you’re likely to face the prospect of your servers being completely annihilated.
Understand How to Recover
Even with the best prevention and detection, there’s still the chance that something could go wrong. This is why it’s also important to have a plan focused on restoring your business as quickly as possible. One of the most important things to know about is how to recover any lost data, and the simplest step is to have an IT disaster management specialist working with you. They will be able to go through a system and restore as much data as possible, often ensuring businesses are able to stay afloat.
Of course, when it comes to data loss, a savvy business won’t have all of their data stored in one place. Instead, they will have multiple backups in different locations, including on the Cloud. Therefore, it one set of data is destroyed, the others will still be accessible.
Test It Out
There’s no way of knowing whether your IT disaster recovery plan works unless you test it out. It might mean taking your staff away from their work for a short while, but in the long run a simple test could save your business huge amounts of money. Make sure all staff know their roles, and that any external companies are also wiling to play their parts, and then simulate an issue, such as a natural disaster.
After the test, it is then vital that you sit with key team members and discuss any problems there were with the plan. These can then be adjusted, hopefully meaning that, should the real thing happen, everything will go far smoother.
So, there you have it: a basic rundown of how to create an IT disaster recovery plan. It might take some time and money to complete, but having this kind of plan in place could one day make a massive difference to your business.