It is almost a certainty that your business will experience a “disaster” in its lifetime. How you recover from it will not only set you apart from your competitors, but it may even save your business! When you think of typical disasters, hurricanes, floods, tornados, and earthquakes come to mind. I am sure you would be surprised to learn that most causes of data loss do not fall under natural disasters. Strategic Research Corporation did a study of the leading causes of business continuity and disaster recovery incidents and here is what they found:
- Hardware Failures (servers, switches, disk drives, etc.) – 44%.
- Human Error (mistakes in configurations, wrong commands issued, etc.) 32%
- Software Errors (operating systems, driver incompatibility, etc.)14%
- Viruses and Security Breach (unprotected systems are always at risk) 7%
- Natural Disasters 3%
Having a proper disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place is vital in minimizing the damage a disaster will have on your business and its data. Waiting until a disaster strikes to create a plan is too late. Having it in place BEFORE you need it will allow you to make sure it is properly working and minimize the time it will take to get you back up and running.
Here are 4 things to help you establish your disaster recovery plan:
1. Risk Assessment – Think about all the potential disasters you could feasibly encounter, how these events will impact your business, and most importantly how will you deal with each crisis. Information Technology professionals have the knowledge and expertise to help you identify your potential risks and design solutions to protect you from each type of data loss.
2. Create a Plan – Go through each of your potential risks and their solutions, and determine how long it would take you to recover from the loss of data for each risk. How long can you be offline? 1 day? 3 days? 1 week? Find way to keep these outages to a minimum.
3. Test, Test, Test – Having a plan in place is a great start. Not knowing if it works is a crucial mistake.
4. Keep It Up To Date – Information for points of contact and assignment of responsibilities changes over time, so it must be verified regularly