A disaster recovery plan is a strategy that allows a business to return to normal after a disruption of some type. Some data disasters are brought on by outside attacks, some are the result of a natural disaster or environmental issue, and some are simply a return to normal after an internal problem interferes with business operations. Today, we’ll take a look at a few things you need to know about disaster recovery to help you mitigate the negative effects of a data disaster.
In IT, disaster recovery is focused on the safeguarding of data and information systems, but for the business it is a wholesale strategy that protects a business’ ability to function after it has dealt with an often avoidable issue. With companies now dealing with much more data than ever before, as well as customers who don’t respond positively to data breaches or downtime, having a comprehensive disaster recovery platform in place is essential to getting through tough situations that may affect your business. Let’s take a look at three things you need to know to properly manage your disaster recovery plan.
Planning is Imperative
The first misconception that most people have about disaster recovery is that it is a massively complex strategy that has a lot of moving parts that need to be handled before you can go on business-as-usual. This isn’t the case. For most smaller businesses, it could simply be a strategy highlighted by a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan. As organizations get larger, however, more detail will be necessary about how to recover systems, applications, and working conditions.
Regardless of what type of organization you run, you need to understand that if you are enacting your disaster recovery plan, there are some serious issues that are affecting your business and you need to confront them head-on. Planning out scenarios can help your team be ready to do what needs to be done to get your business back up and running fast after a disaster. You will need to know how your backup system works, who is in charge of the different parts of your DR platform, and set a responsible recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) to pinpoint how far back your recovery needs to go to get stable applications and data back and how much time you have to get that done.
Test Your DR
One of the biggest problems organizations have with their disaster recovery platform is that they haven’t tested it. In fact, nearly a quarter of businesses have never tested their disaster recovery plan. Failure to test opens up a litany of issues, including the DR platform falling on its face and leaving your organization clutching at straws. You don’t have to test the platform monthly, or even quarterly, but ensuring that your DR platform is tested at least once a year can help you avoid a lot of would-be headaches.
Since testing your DR strategy can disrupt your business and cut into productivity, some business leaders won’t want you to do it. It’s this reason that IT administrators have to push back and ensure that the system is tested at least once annually. Any time you test any system, you will inevitably find problems with it. It stands to reason that your DR strategy will have some issues, but every test provides an opportunity to fix problems. As a result, updating the DR plan with lessons you’ve learned during testing will be invaluable if the real thing needs to be enacted.
The Human Element
You may think of your disaster recovery strategy as an IT issue, but your entire DR platform is handled by humans. A comprehensive DR strategy has to include contingencies for employees. For instance, if your business’ location is compromised for whatever reason, do you have the ability to get them access to company data they need to do their jobs?
Take the COVID-19 pandemic for instance. Not many businesses had “global pandemic” on a list of their DR contingencies and it cost many organizations greatly. With governments handing down shelter-in-place mandates in the early part of the pandemic, many businesses had to invest a lot of capital, often capital they didn’t have, to ensure that their businesses could continue. Regardless of what you do with your technology, businesses are mostly human endeavors and ensuring that your policies cover eventualities like work-from-home strategies can make all the difference between being profitable and closing up shop.
Don’t get caught in-between. If you would like to have a conversation about business continuity or disaster recovery with our IT experts at Point North Networks, Inc., reach out to us today at 651-234-0895.