Businesses are at risk of a disaster every day. Whether it’s a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane, or something man-made like a cyber-attack or data breach, it’s important to be prepared for the worst because you never know what could happen.
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is the first step to being prepared. The plan should include ways to prevent disasters, how to respond in the event of one, and how your business will recover after one happens.
Why your business needs a DRP
A disaster recovery plan is a document that outlines the procedures to be taken in the event of a disaster. It is an essential business tool for any company, large or small, and can help you save time and money by planning ahead for potential disasters, making recovering much easier.
One of the main reasons you should have a DRP in place is because it can minimise your business downtime. You need solutions to protect yourself and your data so that the damage caused won’t be too severe and take long to fix.
A DRP can also help keep your company safe during natural disasters by ensuring that you have communication channels to your employees and clients to keep them informed, updated, and – in the event of natural disasters – safe.
The dangers of being unprepared when disaster strikes
Not having a plan ready when the unexpected occurs has strong consequences for your business. For example, if your company is not prepared for a disaster and the servers crash, you will be faced with costly downtime. Gartner estimates the average cost of network downtime for businesses is $5600 per minute, but given the variables in how businesses operate, can be as much as $540,000 per hour on average.
Not only your bottom line will be impacted; downtime can have severe repercussions to your reputation as a reliable business. Being prepared when the unexpected occurs also means being able to contact your customers to let them know what has happened, and keeping those communication channels open until you are fully back up-and-running to retain those clients.
Identify your business risks
Identifying risks will help your company realise what it might need to recover from, and what critical data needs to be protected. You should also take into account any risks that might be specific to your industry or field.
Risks can be categorized as low, medium, or high. A low risk means that the incident will have little impact and have minimal recovery time. A high risk means that the incident could cause a lot of damage and take much longer to recover from.
Keep an updated record of your critical data and where it is located in your recovery plan. This way, you’ll have a detailed plan for what to do if an incident occurs, including which systems and data will be recovered first.
Estimate the recovery time objective
The recovery time objective (RTO) is the target time for how long it will take for your organization to recover from a disaster and resume regular operations. The RTO will depend on how much data you need, how critical it is, and how quickly you can get new hardware or software.
It could also depend on whether there are any legal or compliance requirements, such as having to comply with data protection laws.
Creating a DRP
Your recovery plan should include:
- Where critical data is located.
- What resources are needed for the recovery process.
- A list of critical business processes and applications.
- System backup procedures.
- The person responsible for ensuring procedures are followed.
Once your company has developed a recovery plan, you need to implement it. Make sure that everyone in your organization understands the importance of restoring operations as soon as possible, and their role in this process.
Ensure your DRP is regularly tested. This will help you identify any problems and make adjustments before the actual time of an incident occurs. Regular reminders, drills, and tests will also keep the DRP fresh in the minds of your employees so they can act with confidence in the event of a disaster.
Establish a business continuity plan
A business continuity plan (BCP) goes hand-in-hand with a DRP. It is a document that outlines the steps to be taken to ensure that the company can continue operating after a disaster. It usually includes processes and procedures for disasters such as cyber-attacks, power loss, and natural disasters.
The BCP should include:
- A list of all critical business functions
- The resources required to perform those functions
- How those resources will be obtained in case of a disaster
- The amount of time required for recovery
- A method of communicating with all personnel
- Any necessary emergency procedures
- A list of emergency contact numbers
Start planning ahead now
A disaster recovery plan is vital to any business’ success. It should be a part of every business’ operations, and should be available for reference when disaster strikes. With this plan, you can save a business from the loss of data, money, and time.
The disaster recovery and business continuity strategists at PWR Technologies can help you prepare for the worst, and minimise your business’ downtime. Talk to them today and be ready.