As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — and when dealing with data, this saying could not be more accurate. Whether your company faces a hardware failure or falls victim to a computer virus, having an effective disaster recovery plan in place is imperative.
Although large companies and corporations tend to plan for a wide array of possible disasters, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) do not often implement a disaster recovery plan until it’s too late. Unfortunately, such an event causes approximately 60% of SMBs to shut down within six months.
If you have not yet developed a disaster recovery plan, today is the day to do so. However, not just any recovery plan will do. In order to truly protect your data and in turn, your business, you must be mindful of key, critical elements. This will ensure the best possible outcome following a disaster.
The True Cost of Data Loss
Your data is one of the greatest assets you have (if not the greatest). Once you lose your data, your company will face serious consequences. As stated in one key report, when a company experiences an outage that lasts more than 10 days, they will never fully recover financially.
Furthermore, an estimated 25% of businesses will not reopen following a significant disaster and within five years, 50% will be out of business. Of the businesses that do experience a disaster and do NOT have an emergency disaster plan, 43% will not reopen their doors and within just two years, only 29% will still be in operation.
The following stats are rather shocking, showcasing some of the reasons why a recovery plan is so critical:
- Approximately 40% of SMBs do not back up their data at all.
- Approximately 44% of data loss is a direct result of unexpected mechanical failures.
- A hard drive crashes every 15 seconds, and 1 in 5 companies will experience a fatal hard drive crash in their lifetime.
Implementing Key Elements In Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Although an incomplete disaster recovery plan is better than no plan at all, in order to truly protect the long-term growth and success of your business, your recovery plan needs to be airtight.
In short, to prevent a data loss disaster, you need to be mindful of the following elements and take preventive action today.
Element 1: An analysis of possible threats and disasters
In order to plan for a potential disaster, you need to understand what that disaster may be.
Overall, risks tend to be categorized into one of the following: external risks (i.e. natural or human risks), facility risks (i.e. fire, flooding, power outage, etc.), data system risks (i.e. viruses, bugs, failed data storage systems, etc.), departmental risks (i.e. missing door key), and desk-level risks (absence of key personnel at work).
Bottom line: You must first assess all possible risks to better understand the potential threats. What risk factors are most likely to impact your business?
Element 2: A communication plan + a predetermined recovery team
Once a disaster occurs, clear, rapid communication is critical.
Have you created reliable communication channels? Also, those involved in the recovery plan should understand their role. For example, who will redirect phones? Who will assess the damage? Who will set up temporary workstations?
Bottom line: When disaster strikes, everyone should step into their role with confidence. Everyone needs to be on the same page, working together to ensure a positive outcome. Also, be sure to record a complete inventory of all hardware and software on-site.
Related: 3 Data Loss Horror Stories
Element 3: Have an evacuation strategy in case of an emergency
Hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as fires, can cause a state of panic. Having a safe evacuation strategy is imperative during an emergency. These routes should be practiced during periodic drills. You can also run test drills to practice your current plan in relation to potential system failures, hackers, etc.
Bottom line: Walk your employees through your disaster plan every six months or so and test on a regular basis, making adjustments as needed.
Element 4: Include a business continuity plan
If a major disruption occurs, what’s next for your business?
This component will include plans and arrangements to ensure that you can still operate. Be mindful of the necessary resources and data that will be required to support business continuity.
Bottom line: You need to plan ahead in terms of key business operations, including an IT recovery strategy. This means that you will need to regularly back up your data BEFORE any issues arise. Start by identifying the data you need to back up so that your business can continue to thrive following a disaster. Then, follow the 3-2-1 backup rule.
Combining the Elements of Disaster Recovery
At the end of the day, the actions you take today could significantly impact the future of your business. Once you have written your first disaster recovery plan, allow it to evolve with your company and make sure it is always up-to-date. Your disaster recovery plan will be of no use if you made significant changes to internal systems but not your plan.
As new technologies arise and new processes are implemented, these will need to be considered in terms of your disaster recovery plan. Then, once changes are made, test your altered plan.
Still unsure how to effectively protect your critical data? Contact us today. We can help you craft a foolproof plan that works 100% of the time. You’ll never have to worry about problems – instead, you can relax knowing your data is safe and sound.