Business continuity and disaster recovery are last of mind for many small businesses and organizations. The assumption goes like this, ‘we have protections in place that will prevent and IT disaster, so why waste time and money creating a plan for something that might never happen?’ This is one of the worst outlooks an SMB can have because not seriously considering disaster recovery can lead to significant consequences: reputational damages, revenue loss, data loss, and even closing the business altogether.
There are no guarantees in life, and the same goes for business. With cybercrime increasing, among many other issues, protection and recovery strategies are more important than ever. Organizations must be able to prepare for the worst, respond to the problem, and adapt accordingly; the best way to do that is with a disaster recovery plan.
DRP: The Basics
A DRP is a structured approach to responding to and recovering from an unplanned incident, including details on the procedures, policies, and processes involved with ensuring quick business continuity. This plan includes precautions to minimize the effects of the disaster so operations can resume as quickly and efficiently as possible. Both responsive and preventative protective strategies are outlined, as well; for example, defining scenarios and the responses to each while also identifying what the business can do to avoid said situations.
Responding to an incident promptly reduces downtime and minimizes the financial and reputational repercussions. Every DRP identifies each critical IT system and determines the amount of time each can be down for, referred to as a recovery time objective (RTO). Next are the steps needed to reconfigure and recover the systems and how long it will take to do so.
Further DRP Elements
Businesses must know what hardware, software, and systems are in use to run the organization, or else an effective DRP will be impossible to implement. Beyond taking an inventory, consider what systems will be affected by specific events, such as a power outage, flood, or hack.
Implementing a backup system, whether on a physical server offsite or the cloud is essential to preventing the loss of data in the case of an emergency. Not all business information is the same – some may be unchanging and, therefore, will only need to be backed up once. Make sure there is a clear delineation of what needs to be saved frequently and what can be left for more extended periods.
Assigning roles and having a clear line of communication in the case of a disaster is extremely important to keeping everyone on task and minimize confusion. With everyone on the same page, employees can feel confident knowing what they are tasked with following an incident.
Find the Right Partner
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of any disaster recovery plan is finding the right partner. Facing a disaster as an SMB is complicated, chaotic, and confusing, and planning for one can be just as taxing – this is why leaning on a trusted adviser is so important.
Don’t waste your own time and effort on something outside your expertise; choose a trusted partner that will build and test a comprehensive plan and guide you through the overwhelming tasks.