Beginner's Guide to Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Countless hours can be spent analyzing and improving an organization's internal technology assets and practices. But are you ready for the unknown?
Most disasters are a bit severe. They can involve an unauthorized party getting into your data or your network. Even just the possibility or unwarranted access is an emergency. They can involve natural disasters, human error, rogue employees, or even simply multiple systems errors stacked on top of each other.
Disasters can be an ever large issue if availability have a direct effect on revenue, if you deal with financial or sensitive data, or is especially true if your company has access to personally identifiable information (PII), credit card information, or health information protected under HIPAA.
Here is a beginner's guide to disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
The importance of technology within your business strategy cannot be disputed. We exist in an era when online marketplaces and agile business practices are allowing companies and their employees to exist and grow in ways that we never thought were possible. Technology has become a cornerstone of the way nearly every business functions these days.
When it comes to utilizing your tech, putting the proper procedures in place for surviving and recovering from unforeseen disasters is a must.
Use Cloud Services
Cloud computing technology has allowed for businesses to implement tech solutions that they might not have been able to afford in the past. Critical accounting software, email systems, and security software are all offered at affordable prices, and can be tailored to meet your needs. While many vendors use and protect their top-tier systems and your data, you might still be at risk during a disaster.
If you're not utilizing cloud based services for all of your tech tasks, your internal assets are at an even greater risk. Understanding what disaster recovery services your vendors offer is a must. Many service providers will have clear plans of action for how you can protect yourself if an emergency should arise. You should definitely understand what you can do to recover lost or damaged data. Understanding how your vendors operate will help you learn about protecting your internal assets as well. Your own plans should include steps for protecting both onsite and off-site technologies.
Crafting a plan for protecting and recovering your systems and data during and after a disaster doesn't have to be hard work. It is critical to partner with the right professionals. You'll be able to understand how to piece together the puzzle of backup and disaster recovery. Lists can be powerful things. Here at Be Structured we even offer our clients templates to help them get their BC plan started more quickly and can even consult to build a robust plan.
You should start your disaster recovery strategy by listing all of your mission critical assets. These are that might be at risk should an emergency arise. Talk with your staff internally about how they use their technology and take notes. Compile as much information as possible. A technology professional, such as Be Structured, will be able to help you understand what needs to be included in your planning.
There are basic principles that apply to all organizations when it comes to backup and disaster recovery, but all businesses are different. Having the necessary professionals and plan in place is vital to protecting your data and keeping your business afloat during a disaster.It is also important to maintain modern and updated anti-virus and anti-malware software on any computer you happen to be running. You will avoid a problematic situation like losing access to your computer due to ransomware or having your entire hard drive wiped clean. This can happen if a virus made it onto your computer, forcing you to reset your machine to gain access to it again.
Don't hesitate, do your research, talk to the right people, and get your plan in place. Purchasing the right hardware and software for backup and disaster recovery is only one piece of the puzzle. A lot can be done to prevent disasters on highly available systems too if the planning is done well ahead of time. (But that's for another article).
Tips for Disaster Recovery
When working in the IT field, some form of disaster is bound to occur sooner or later. However, it doesn't need to be a permanent disaster nor one you can't recover from. As long as you plan ahead and prepare for a disaster, there is no reason why you can't recover from one, regardless of how bad it seems at first glance.
The first thing that is essential for disaster planning in IT is backing up your data. Make sure your data is safely and regularly backed up. You can be safe in the knowledge that if anything happens to your primary copy of that data, you have at least one backup copy that can be used to restore it to full functionality and continue where you left off.
You need to make sure to have plenty of redundant systems. A critical system component of your hardware or software can experience a critical failure. You should have a secondary system that can immediately take its place without having to obtain a replacement and wait for it to arrive.
This will both save you time and remove the potential system bottleneck that you might otherwise have to suffer through as a result of a portion of your hardware or software failing on you.
Disaster Recovery And Business Continuity Plans
These are terms that are part of every business, especially ones that deal with data. Create a step-by step plan of what your business operations will look like in the middle of any given crisis. Can you record data on paper documents while waiting for systems to be restored? Make sure you have non-computer systems as backups for the most critical parts of the business. It may include whether you're going to allow customers on the premises and how you're going to reduce physical damage to the extent you safely can.
Then create a plan of how you're going to get business operations back to usual levels. Both plans can help you keep things moving on autopilot so you can focus on unexpected problems.
You don't want customers to find out something happened to their unit through the grapevine first. Even if that alert is beyond your response time, make sure there isn't radio silence. Have an email template ready with a broad corporate statement and reassuring but non-binding sentences about what recovery will look like.
Managing public perception and your customers concerns might not be the first thing on your mind depending on the severity of the event. So automate a quality response ahead of time.
You need a far more detailed disaster recovery plan. Your company needs to be rooting out the threat. You should also bring the backup information to the forefront. Start to alert potentially impacted parties. Your executives and directors are going to be caught up in the chaos of containing the damage and working through your business continuity plan. This, therefore, should be as automated as possible.
There are many things that you need to do in order to make sure that your plan will work out the way you expect it to.
These tips should give you some basic ideas of how to approach a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Contact us to learn how we can help you.