Every business needs a plan of attack if disaster strikes. Whether the businesses is targeted by fire, theft, vandalism, weather events, human error, or security intrusions, a disaster recovery plan must be established to protect the integrity of the system, the data, and the business. Businesses large and small collect a wealth of data, and the loss of the data can cripple operations. A disaster recovery plan ensures a system is in place to recover the data, resume operations, and minimize the amount of downtime. When you are devising your company’s disaster recovery plan, consider seven important steps.
1. Plan to Lose One or All
Businesses should take inventory of the company’s hardware–such as laptops, desktops, devices, the server—and the software. A disaster recovery plan must consider the loss of a single component or all, the computer room and infrastructure, hardware, internet connection, software systems, and data recovery and restoration. Answer the following: how do we get each up and running again.
2. Conduct a Risk Assessment
A company cannot know its risk and the best ways to recover without conducting a comprehensive risk assessment. A risk assessment identifies vulnerabilities, software, emergency practices, and anything else that impacts the daily workings of a business.
3. Identify Essential Personnel
A plan must identify essential personnel and a chain of command when disaster strikes. Where can essential personnel be reached, and who has access to recovery strategies?
4. Designate a Meeting Area
If operations cannot resume where the office is located, the disaster recovery plan must establish an off-site meeting area and procedures for remote access to the company’s system.
5. Assign Responsibilities and Tasks Required for Successful Recovery
To avoid chaos, everyone needs to know what is expected of him/herself before and after a disaster. This can be as minor as collecting data and the steps to take if a device is lost or stolen, or as complex as recovering data.
6. Review Data Recovery Procedures
Data recovery and restoration is the number one goal of the disaster recovery plan. Without company data, the company does not have a foundation for operations. The company’s plan must address preventative security and data measures, detecting threats, and resolutions for recovery. For effective collection and restoration of data, companies must know who has the data, how it is collected and secured, where the data is stored, how it can be recovered, what happens if the data is lost, and the process of retrieving data if the company decides to switch users.
7. Put the Plan into Action
When you establish the disaster recovery plan, test it out. Work out the kinks and get to know the processes before disaster strikes. Your company does not want to undergo a trial by fire. There is too much at stake, and you don’t want it to be your company’s reputation hanging from the stake. Consider revisiting and testing the plan on an annual basis.