Despite the best-laid plans, disasters can and do strike businesses of any size, often without warning.
Some of the ways that disaster may strike a company includes:
So, how can businesses plan for any eventuality and ensure they are protected, prepared, and able to function during these difficult situations?
We will explore the ideas of business continuity and disaster recovery and provide some helpful tips to ensure you are prepared for anything IT-related that might happen in the future.
Disaster recovery refers to an organisation’s ability to regain access to files and data, and to restore functionality to its IT systems following a disastrous event. An event may cause the loss of data or system downtime that results in lost income, delays to customer service, or other factors that result in reputational damage.
A disaster recovery plan is important as it will provide an action plan that allows your business to get its systems back up and running as quickly as possible. In some circumstances, where property or hardware gets destroyed, there may be long periods of downtime, so the plan needs to account for contingency plans to reduce downtime.
Business continuity, on the other hand, refers to an organisation’s ability to maintain services and critical processes in the event and aftermath of a disaster or unplanned incident. It is about continuing operations in the face of adversity and is a part of an overall disaster recovery plan.
Every business should have a disaster recovery plan: a living, breathing document that outlines how the company or organisation will respond in the event of a disaster. There are several considerations to consider when mapping out a disaster recovery plan.
Here are some essential things you need to think about and record:
Recovery time objective (RTO)- the maximum time your business can tolerate following a disaster before service is restored and resumed. Your RTO will depend on your business and industry; in some cases, it can be minutes, and for others, it might be days or weeks.
Recovery point objective (RPO)- the maximum amount of data your business can afford to lose in the event of a disaster. Again, this will vary depending on the situation, with some businesses unable to operate without an hour’s worth of data, compared to others that can lose days or even weeks’ worth of certain types of information.
You should have a record of all your business’s IT hardware and software, with each item labelled in the following scale:
Your inventory should be updated regularly and accurately reflect the assets within your IT infrastructure.
As part of the plan for prevention, business continuity, and recovery, key responsibilities should be allocated to stakeholders within the business. For example, you should have named personnel responsible for data backup and IT maintenance (i.e., an IT Manager), customer communication (Customer Services), and media management (PR team).
Your plan should include any requirements for physical locations if your premises are damaged or otherwise unusable. For example, what is the minimum space needed for a new office or warehouse?
You should also consider where any data is stored, and how you’re able to access this in the event of a disaster.
In the event of a disaster, there must be a framework for communicating with relevant people internally and externally. You’ll need to communicate any news and updates quickly and effectively to:
To reduce the chances of a disastrous event being a catastrophe for your business, there are several steps you can take to be more prepared. Not every disaster can be prevented, but by having robust systems in place you can reduce the impact an unforeseen event has on your business.
Here are some ways to avoid an IT disaster or reduce the negative impact one might have:
Preparedness is key. In an ideal world, you’ll never need to act on your disaster recovery plan. But if disaster does strike, would you be able to continue operations and recover effectively?
Although it’s not a nice thought, you need to consider the worst-case scenario and then ensure you’re prepared as best as you can be.
Everything Tech has extensive experience providing IT support to small and medium-sized businesses, including disaster preparedness, data backup, and cyber security management. Contact us today or call 0161 826 2220 to see how we can help you.