When we were kids, one of the best things that could happen was a snow day. Growing up in Texas, these were pretty rare for us. But boy, were we were always so excited when they did.! A free day to play in the snow and ice was a dream come true for an elementary school kid.
These days, however, most businesses can’t afford to take a snow day. If bad weather interrupts your business flow, you could lose money or customers. Or a power outage could destroy important data.
One of the most important things you can do for your business is to create an actionable Disaster Recovery Plan.
Here are 8 questions you should answer to help create a disaster recovery plan for your business.
1. What do you consider to be a disaster scenario?
Make sure you go through all the possible scenarios that could occur and define them. Don’t just limit yourself to natural disasters. It is important to be thorough. Other types of disasters might include viruses, ransomware, or hardware failure.
2. Have you analyzed the impact of these risks?
Think about each risk or event separately. Depending on your business and location, different disaster events will have different effects. A power outage might affect your whole operation, but a hard drive failure for one computer may not be as difficult to fix. A blizzard in Michigan will likely just mean business as usual, but here in Texas a small flurry can cause all business operations to cease.
3. What is your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) for each risk?
RTO is a benchmark that indicates how quickly your data must be recovered in order to keep your business moving. Unfortunately, no matter what your backup plan is, immediate recovery is often unlikely. But, for most businesses, sooner is better than later. It’s important to know how long to expect recovery to take so you can know how to best plan.
Also, think about your RPO, which is exactly which data you will need to recover to be able to get back up and running.
Keeping these two objectives in mind will let you know how often you need to back up your data.
4. Where will your applications run after an incident occurs?
What’s your backup plan? Do you have a backup server? How will employees access their email if necessary? It’s important to know if, and how, your applications will continue to run. For example, if your website check out service is down, maybe you will be able to field phone calls to take orders.
5. How will you notify your employees quickly about the disaster and what steps to take?
Will you send text messages? Phone calls? Emails?
Social media can be helpful to make sure that you are able to stay in contact with employees.
Make sure you have a method to quickly contact employees and let them know what to do. A phone tree is helpful to make sure everyone is continually updated and you aren’t left scrounging around to find phone numbers.
6. Who is on your recovery team and what are their roles?
The disaster management team will oversee the recovery process. They will also evaluate the disaster and determine what steps should be taken to ensure business continuity. Make sure your plan includes names, roles and phone numbers for each member of you team.
Appoint a team lead.
The lead should:
- Make the determination that a disaster has occurred and trigger the DRP and related processes.
- Initiate the DR Call Tree.
- Be the single point of contact for and oversee all of the DR Teams.
- Organize and chair regular meetings of the DR Team leads throughout the disaster.
- Present to the Management Team on the state of the disaster and the decisions that need to be made.
- Organize, supervise and manage all DRP test and author all DRP updates.
Other team roles might include:
- Facilities Team
- Network Team
- Server Team
- Applications Team
- Operations Team
- Management Team
- Communications Team
- Finance Team
Check out Info-Tech Research Group’s Disaster Recovery Plan Template to help create your response team.
7. How will ensure you employees know what to do?
Once you have thought about various scenarios, it is important to make sure to train your employees. You will want to have employees in various roles or teams to ensure the correct steps are followed. Then, make sure to provide training on how you want them to proceed in case of a disaster. The worst time to try to train people is in the middle of a problem.
8. How will you notify vendors, clients and the media?
If your business is down, make sure you have a plan to let customers and clients know. The worst thing to happen would be that customers are angry and decide to take their business elsewhere.
In some cases, it may also be important to notify the media, particularly if you need to get information to lots of people at once. For example, a school district losing power and needing to let parents know what is going on.
After reading this, you may be thinking that creating a Disaster Recovery Plan is a big job.
You’re right! It is.
But it’s also imperative to have one for your business. After all, as Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Want more information or support? Higher State Technology can examine your network to help you analyze your risks and create a plan. We will provide IT disaster recovery services that are tailored specifically for your business.
You’ve spent a lifetime working hard to get where you are. You earned every penny and every client. Why risk losing it all? Get the facts so you can be certain your business, your reputation and your data are protected. Call us at 512-900-9478 or you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late to make a Disaster Recovery Plan!
Live in or near Austin? Want to get some practical disaster planning information you can use to create your own backup plan?
About Higher State Technology (HST) Since 2004, specialists at Austin-based Higher State Technology (HST) have provided implementation, troubleshooting, hardware, software and managed services solutions for multi-location companies and for solopreneurs. HST helps companies safeguard their IT assets through network protection, backups and disaster recovery, antimalware and anti-spam protection, and other risk management services. HST offers remote and onsite IT support and management tailored to the needs of each client. For more information, visit www.Higher-State.com.
Author: Meredith Clark