Is your business prepared for a disaster scenario that could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy? If you’re truly ready for anything, your operations and IT team will have several business continuity plans in place that allow you to maintain critical business operations until your business is back up and running. An IT disaster recovery (DR) plan should be a big part of this preparation strategy, regardless of the size of your team or available budget.
Don’t know what a disaster recovery plan entails or why you need one? Let’s cover the basics of this business must-have and get you up to speed on the affordable technology and DR services available to you and your team.
Why and How You Should Be Prepared
What’s your current plan of action if your business’s email server is hacked? What about unprecedented weather events? What happens if you lose vital client documents that your employees need to do their jobs? Disasters, failures and unfortunate events can disrupt internal operations and may even become apparent to your customers. So while you can’t prevent every harmful event from happening, you can still take steps to prepare for the damage.
All critical operations should be tied to a contingency plan to reduce or avoid large-scale impact to your business. For operations related to information technology, this is where disaster recovery comes into play. You’ll need to create a documented disaster recovery plan and maintain several preventative measures.
A disaster recovery plan can be managed through an in-house team or through a trusted IT solutions provider that has the manpower to construct, implement, manage and monitor top-notch disaster recovery services. But be wary of IT vendors that try to sell you a complete DR solution as a packaged deal – disaster recovery isn’t a boxed product you can simply purchase. Every business from small to enterprise level will have varied storage priorities, data capacity needs and business growth goals. Because of this, a true IT partner should work with your company to determine your unique requirements and recommend a DR solution that works best for you.
Only a custom disaster recovery plan designed with your business in mind will ensure your company’s ongoing success and prepare you for all worst case scenarios.
The Basics of a Disaster Recovery Plan
So what exactly is included in an IT disaster recovery plan for businesses? Recovery solutions for all components of your company’s IT system should be laid out in a DR plan. This means step-by-step fixes for each of the following:
- Computer Environment: room climate and backup power supply
- Connectivity: fiber, cable and wireless connections
- Hardware: networks, servers, computers and devices
- Software: email, productivity, EDI and ERP
- Data: information and restoration1
If you have some elements of a business continuity plan already in place, you can get started on your first disaster recovery plan by following these six steps:
- Consult your business impact analysis to take inventory of your critical IT functions and resources and implement data backup efforts
- Compile equipment insurance documents and create copies of program software as applicable
- Prioritize restoration by reviewing the list and establishing levels of importance for each item, considering downtime and backup options
- Document recovery processes and estimated timelines for all system components, providing manual alternatives for priority items
- Review a summarized version of the DR plan with your employees and be sure to address their concerns about uptime and alternative solutions
- Test. Test.
It’s also important to note that backup services and recovery services are not one in the same; configuring regular backup services is an essential part of any contingency plan, but you must stack up other building blocks to construct a comprehensive and robust disaster recovery plan. Be prepared to scale your DR strategy as your business evolves, which means you’ll need to review it regularly with your internal team or IT provider.
Defining DRaaS and Cloud Solutions
How does the cloud fit into disaster recovery planning? Modern information technology is almost always associated with “the cloud,”. Many organizations have adopted the cloud as an effective and more affordable way to manage their disaster recovery procedures. They purchase disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), which is the third-party cloud hosting of data, applications and servers.
Because disaster recovery plans also factor in natural disasters, many companies choose to house recovery platforms off-site and outside of their geographical region to reduce the risk of impacting production and recovery network and servers. Utilizing the cloud is an easy way to accomplish this. The structure of cloud networks minimizes downtime and data loss while allowing for advanced data security through encryption and compliance requirements like PCI and HIPAA. It’s a flexible and cost-effective solution that can be applied to a wide variety of products.
Moving your DR and backup services into the cloud gives you peace of mind, ensuring that vital business data and services are safe so you can avoid the consequences of data loss or hardware failure. You’ll also be able to fully recover much faster than local competitors suffering from the same disaster, putting you light-years ahead of those that have only localized copies of their backups.
Are you ready to get started on creating and implementing your company’s disaster recovery plan? Learn how an information technology solutions provider can ensure your plan is fool-proof and well-executed by reading a disaster recovery case study from Razor Tech. It reveals how a nationally recognized insurance firm quickly recovered lost data after a hardware failure on their quoting system by partnering with Razor Tech.