How To Create An Effective Disaster Recovery Plan For Your Business

disaster recovery planThe majority of modern businesses rely heavily on IT to run at least part, if not all, of their daily operations. Even the 2,800 medical clinics in operation need IT to run efficiently. Managers dread the thought of this system going down, as it would mean a major stall in business. It’s imperative for any company that depends on an IT infrastructure to have a disaster recovery plan in place. If the unthinkable happens, this plan ensures that you can get things up and running as quickly as possible.

Let’s dive into the most important steps to creating a successful disaster recovery system so that your company has the safety net you need.

Identify the most serious threats

The first step in creating your plan is knowing what exactly threatens your IT infrastructure. Common risks include staff error, system failure, power loss, and fire. By pinpointing which of these risks apply to your company’s operations, you’ll be able to enact the proper procedures to reduce the risk and decide the course of action you need for recovery. If staff error is your main concern, you would want to focus on thoroughly training your company’s employees. However, if a fire is a serious risk in your business, you would need to set up your recovery system on a different site altogether.

Prioritize your recovery and backup that data

Once you know what poses a risk to your company, you need to determine the order in which your team needs to act in a recovery. Determine your mission-critical services, or the services that your business requires in order to run. These services often include things like manufacturing, email, and access to cloud resources. Identifying your most important services will ensure those are the ones you get up and running first and it will prevent you from spending time and money on recovering non-critical services.

You should also set your Recovery Point Objective or RPO. This is representative of how much data your company is willing to lose in the case of a disaster. By setting an RPO in your disaster recovery plan, you can ensure that you back up your data frequently enough to avoid losing the information you need. For instance, an online retailer in the automotive aftermarket industry, which is expected to reach $722.8 billion by 2020, that does not want to lose any of their sales would need their recovery point to be the last moment their site was online. To meet their RPO, this company would have to have a system that constantly provides backup for this data.

Create a critical response team and written manual

Your disaster recovery plan should include a critical response team, or the personnel you need to get the system back online. This team can include internal staff as well as third-party contacts such as your web host or software vendors. Be sure to have their contact information in the recovery plan and include who is responsible for calling each team member.

All of the steps of your disaster recovery plan should be written down in a physical manual. This manual will help create order out of chaos in the event of a disaster by specifying the order of the steps and who needs to carry out each task. As 15% of all paper documents are misplaced, be sure that you have a designated spot for this manual to live or multiple copies of it. It will be your guide in making it through a disaster with efficiency and ease, so you can’t afford to lose it.

Test your recovery plan

It may seem like your job is done once you’ve created a disaster recovery plan, but you need to make sure the steps are effective when you actually need to get your system back online. Set aside time to test your plan from beginning to end. This practice run will allow you to modify any steps that don’t work in practice and add in anything that you overlooked. About 25% of organizations never test their disaster recovery system, but this leaves them open to never catching problem areas that can make the disaster even worse. Always test your plan and build in contingencies just in case it doesn’t work perfectly.

When your company has a disaster recovery plan in place, you’re ensuring the wellbeing of the business. Just as homes lacking a security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized, neglecting to create a plan puts your business at an increased risk of a true disaster. Serious problems can arise at any time, but a comprehensive plan will be your guide to overcoming those issues.

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