IT Disaster Recovery (DR) is a process of resuming operations and regaining access and functionality to it’s IT infrastructure, such as access to it’s data, hardware, software, power, networking equipment and connectivity after events such as a natural disaster, cyber attack and even events related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
IT Disaster recovery planning can be a difficult task for even large businesses. For small businesses that don’t have access to the same resources as a large company, creating an effective disaster recovery plan might seem impossible.
Thankfully, there are steps that small businesses can take in order to put together an effective small business disaster recovery plan that will help them avoid the consequences of prolonged downtime.
IT Disaster Recovery planning
Respond and recover
When a major disaster strikes, every minute counts. Therefore, it’s essential to begin responding and recovering from a disaster as soon as possible.
Building an IT disaster recovery plan is essential for your business. You’ll need to start by determining what your business’s top priorities should be in the immediate wake of a disaster. Then, develop a response that focuses on those priorities, and train your employees to fulfill their roles in that response as effectively and quickly as possible. Remember that how you respond during the first few hours after a disaster will have a big effect on how well your business is able to recover.
Communication is the key
Effective communication is a critical component of disaster recovery. In the wake of a disaster, you’ll need to be able to contact your suppliers and your key clients to let them know what is going on. You may also need to contact local and state emergency agents, your insurer, repair services, and more. By compiling a list of contact information for all of these people and groups, you can make your post-disaster communication swifter and more efficient.
Create a strategy
One of the most painful consequences of downtime for businesses of all sizes is a loss of customers, and creating a strategy to mitigate this loss as much as possible is an important element of any disaster recovery plan. By far the most effective way for small businesses to avoid losing customers after a disaster takes them offline is customer communication. This may entail posting updates to your social media pages or reaching out to clients directly via phone or email. Whatever strategy you devise to communicate with customers after a disaster, know that the more you keep your customers in the loop the less likely you are to lose their business.
Back up your data
Data loss is often another costly consequence for small businesses dealing with a disaster. To prevent your business from losing all of its critical data, you’ll want to back up all digital data on an off-site server. Do you need offsite backups? Having your data backed up on the cloud is the best choice since you will be able to access it from any internet-connected device in the wake of a disaster.
Identify your critical business activities
There’s a good chance that some areas of your business will be even more critical to keep online others. For example, if a majority of your sales come from your business’s website, getting your website back online may be your top priority following a disaster. Whatever the critical activities of your business might be, you’ll want to identify them as well as identify the resources that they are dependent on. Once you have highlighted your business’s critical activities and the resources that those activities are dependent on, you can then determine what you will need to do in order to keep your critical activities running at a second location.
Practice your disaster recovery plan
Once you have put together an IT disaster recovery plan for your small business, you’ll want to practice and test that plan with your employees periodically. There are several ways to test a disaster recovery plan, from simply talking through the plan step by step to actually acting out a disaster. When you build an IT disaster recovery plan, understand that both practicing and testing your small business disaster recovery plan is essential if you want to be able to respond to a disaster as swiftly and effectively as possible.