Start-up entrepreneurs to big-name CEOs know one thing: starting and sustaining a business means going through multiple crises and risks and how to stay on top of those risks.
With the recent increase in cyberattacks, the ever-present threat of changing climate, and the possibility of power outages or failures, the need to recover after a disaster is more important than ever. However, businesses often underestimate the steps needed for an effective crisis management plan or find them too overwhelming and time-consuming to implement.
If you oversee critical data in addition to overseeing your facilities and staff, you should have a comprehensive business recovery plan. This ensures continuity and protects against financial or data loss in the event of a crisis. In fact, 47% of enterprises and 38% of small companies have processes for at least half of their production infrastructure.
In this article, we will discuss why disaster recovery (DR) is an important part of business continuity and tips on how to create an effective DR strategy to minimize financial loss.
Business Continuity with an Efficient Disaster Recovery Plan
- Run a Risk Analysis
Regardless of your business or product, it is crucial to determine your company’s weak spots by running a risk assessment. This can help figure out the type of DR plan that would work best for you.
For example, a tech start-up requires strong software protection against cyberattacks such as hacking, malware, viruses, data leaks, and power outages. Its data banks need to be extremely safe and secure, with backups in store in case of a company-wide data or security breach. As such, disaster recovery plans (DRPs) should be reactive and based on your business model.
You do not have to wait for an actual disaster to happen before you develop a DRP. Instead, probe for weaknesses in your system and plan for the restoration of service.
For example, a DRP tailored to IT infrastructure prevents massive loss of important customer data by creating private access to offsite copies and picking up the pieces in a structured and organized manner. Its emphasis is on recovery time, which ensures business continuity despite a crisis behind the scenes.
- Creating a Checklist for Things to Consider
After running a thorough risk analysis, create a list of possible disasters that may result in loss of data, security, or finances and DRPs to prevent, counter, or recover from them.
Although DRPs are reactive, it is best to be proactive about it. Rather than waiting for disaster to strike before deciding how to respond, your organization will be better off doing homework ahead of time. Take the initiative. Create a strategy based on your checklist and test it on a regular basis. What good is a plan that is sound on paper but fails in practice?
Don’t forget to update your plan regularly, too, as new policies, procedures, and technologies are implemented.
- Create a Comprehensive Data Recovery Plan
Without access to data, enterprise operations can grind to a halt, so it is critical to have a strategy that allows you to recover from an outage quickly.
In recent years, advancements in server and storage technologies have streamlined business continuity. As such, it is best to learn how networking technologies such as WAN optimization can aid in data replication over long distances, as well as some of the drawbacks to this approach.
This also includes designing resilient networks, virtual private network considerations for disaster recovery, dealing with failover or failback issues, protecting voice and data networks, and more.
Learn how to protect your organization’s data from theft or corruption caused by external or internal attacks. Study security best practices, intellectual property protection, access control, and encryption, as these are essential aspects of business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
- Creating an Efficient System
Business continuity and disaster recovery planning for an organization’s facilities encompass various factors, from natural disaster protection to establishing a secondary DR site or alternative workspace. Some elements may apply to several organizations, while others will be unique to each.
An efficient DRP covers all company’s weaknesses and possible risks and crises, such as emergency power supplies, fire suppression, and damage assessments, among others, with a strong focus on recovering the systems and software that will pave the way for “business as usual.”
It is critical to ensure business recovery and continuity in times of disaster, and the sooner, the better. Any downtime these days could be considered unacceptable, so getting things up and running should be a top priority.
In the case of a natural disaster, recovery will determine whether a business survives, so take time to test and train clients on how to implement the critical steps by simulating disasters. But for a strategy to be truly efficient, the DRP must be flexible and fluid, as conditions change within the organization and risks evolve rapidly.
- Run a Business Impact Analysis
Knowing how much the business will be affected in any specific crisis or disaster can ensure a more efficient DRP. A list of critical IT components and applications that must be “recovered” for business continuity is essential to your strategy and planning.
A simple example of knowing the negative impact of a data breach on a business is knowing that consumer data and your equipment and staff are all affected. This can push forth the development of a business continuity plan, including having temporary facilities for essential department personnel and transporting the necessary equipment to a secure facility.
Your disaster recovery plan should also include the staff’s pre-planned activities once in the temporary facility.
Even in this age of IT resilience, business continuity and disaster recovery plans are frequently overlooked, avoided, or put off until later. Because DRPs can be costly and provide no immediate ROI, management support is frequently lacking. It’s often compared to purchasing insurance, an investment you hope you’ll never need. But this does not have to be the case.
Disaster recovery and business continuity plans can and should be integrated into your day-to-day operations. Because of technological advancements, disaster recovery planning has become more affordable and simpler.
Innovative planners are figuring out how to integrate disaster recovery with other critical operations as a guide to ecommerce success. If they are doing it, you, too, should plan and strategize crisis management, business continuity, and disaster recovery plans to build business resilience.
However, this does not mean your work is finished. Constant planning, strategizing, testing, training, and updating are what make a disaster recovery plan truly foolproof. Risks evolve, and we must always be ready for them.