From broken water pipes and electrical fires to infrastructure issues and cyber-attacks, businesses of all sizes and in all industries are vulnerable to disasters and disruptions. While big businesses typically plan for the worst, small businesses often do not have a formal disaster recovery plan in place.
This is unfortunate because many small businesses are forced to close their doors after disaster strikes. In fact, according to our most recent survey, 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more, filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.
Is your company prepared for a disaster? If not, the following guideline can help you take the right steps to develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that will ensure your doors can stay open.
1. Identify Risks
It’s not possible to prepare for every single risk, and that’s okay. The risks you are most likely to face will be determined on your industry, technology, geographic location, and other specific factors to your business. When outlining your plan, only spend time developing solutions for the disruptions you’re most likely to face.
2. Determine Priorities
To determine your DR priorities, think about the impact a disruption will have on your business operations. A disaster will affect finances, safety, regulatory and legal, and potentially your reputation, among other business aspects.
By assessing your major IT systems and determining IT priorities and dependencies, you will be able to develop recovery strategies that will minimize loss and encourage the continuity of your most important operations.
3. Assign a Recovery Team
When disaster strikes, it’s not only your technology that will need help, your team members will as well. To get your entire organization up and running as quickly as possible, establish a team of employees with essential skills and expertise to assist where needed. These, for example, could be key players in your operations, IT and Human Resources departments.
4. Facilitate Clear Communication
In order to uphold the trust and keep your good reputation, it’s important to have clear communication with employees, customers, and the media. Establish one point of contact for your employees, suppliers, and customers, and consider seeking the help of a crisis communications firm if necessary.
5. Manage Customer Expectations
Beyond providing them with clear communication and transparency, your customers may have outstanding orders that need to be filled. Determine how you’ll meet their needs. You may want to find alternative companies who can help fill these orders should catastrophe strike.
6. Establish Emergency Accounting and Payroll
While you may be in recovery mode, there are still suppliers and employees who need and expect to be paid. Consider leveraging a cloud-based accounting system or third-party payroll provider to ensure financial continuity no matter what may occur.
Having a DR plan is not enough to ensure your recovery. You need to practice your procedures just as organizations practice fire drills. Only by testing your tactics and strategies will you feel confident in your DR plan’s ability to be executed upon.
8. Continually Update
You’ll need to consistently update your DR plan to account for any internal IT systems or applications changes. If you currently have a DR plan in place but it was developed years ago, go through these steps and make any necessary updates and adjustments.
9. Consider DRaaS
Disaster Recovery as a service (DRaaS) allows enterprises to store their critical applications and infrastructure in the cloud. So, no matter what location a team may be working from, they have access to the data they need. DRaaS providers test and validate the recovery of your data and workflows, so you can always be sure you’re prepared.
Evolve IP’s DRaaS suite protects your critical data and allows you to recover your IT based on how your infrastructure is designed today. From fully managed DR to self-service, to essential cloud backups, we offer services that fit all RTO & RPO, budget and compliance needs. It’s never pleasant to think about disasters, but careful planning can be the difference between bankruptcy and moving your business forward. Create a plan today and let Evolve IP help you prepare and put your mind at ease.