3 Questions to Ask Yourself About Disaster Recovery Planning

While death and taxes may seem like the only true sure things in life, don’t underestimate the near certainty of business data loss. According to CloudBackup’s ‘Facts about Data Loss’ study, nearly 70% of businesses and business professionals have experienced, or will experience, data loss as a result of accidental deletion or other human error, hardware or software failure, viruses, or even natural disasters.

When it comes to being capable of handling such problems, your business must have a backup plan in place as well as a disaster recovery plan. They may seem similar to you, but the difference is simple. A backup plan is the process and systems a business uses to backup critical data and systems. A disaster recovery plan is the process, policy, and procedure used to ensure your business can continue operating normally after data has been lost.

With that said, here are three questions you must ask yourself when creating your disaster recovery plan.


How much of your business critical data will be backed up?

Data backups are great and all, but they are only as useful as the type of data being backed up. If all you are backing up is HR records with employee data and you’re ignoring backing up customer information and business financial records, then you’re really missing the point.

You must backup all of your data. If that’s not possible (for whatever reason) then at least backup the critical information such as customer records, financial records, vendor information, employee information and records, as well as any and all licenses or permits required by regulatory and government agencies.


Will your data be stored offsite?


Offsite backup options have become popular and widely accepted recently due to the low cost associated with offsite backup services and ease with which data can be backed up, often times automatically or on a specific schedule. While offsite data backup solutions are more reliable than many onsite data backup systems, you’ll still want to make sure that whoever your provider is also offers redundancy options in case one system fails and guarantees the highest levels of security and encryption.


How will you communicate with employees and customers during recovery?


Many recovery options from reputable service providers are able to get your core systems and data up and running again within the hour. However, it could take several hours after that to fully recover all data that was lost during whatever incident occurred. There must be a plan or process in place that allows employees to know exactly what they need to do during such an event and how customers will be notified, if at all, while you are waiting for all systems to be fully operational again.

disaster recovery plan

7 Tips for a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

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.