If you’ve ever corrupted a file and had to start over on a complex document, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Now imagine that happens to every file on every computer in your business. If your business relies on IT to function, then your business is at risk of IT failure. IT downtime and data loss can cost businesses hundreds of thousands. A study by EMC revealed that data loss and downtime cost businesses around £1 trillion in 2014. With more and more companies adopting digital technologies, the risk can only increase.
The process of planning for such a catastrophe within your business is known as disaster recovery (DR) planning. Disaster recovery planning is relevant for businesses of all sizes, yet is often overlooked by small businesses. Disaster recovery in a more general sense can cover things like fire or flood, but IT disaster recovery looks specifically at loss of data or system downtime. If you arrive at work on a Monday and your website is down and your company computers are infected with malware, would you know what steps to take? This is precisely how a disaster recovery plan can help you. Here are the essential components of a disaster recovery plan for business continuity.
Every company will have a different threshold for downtime or data loss. If you run a shop that relies on an EPOS to make sales, then downtime of anything more than an hour is likely to have a huge impact on your business. However, if you run an online shop, then anything longer than a few minutes of downtime would be unacceptable. Define at which point an inconvenience becomes a disaster so your employees know when to act.
Gather your contacts
It’s not uncommon for the person who discovers the problem to have no idea who to get in touch with first. Compile a list of IT contacts and their emergency backup contact so that you’ll know exactly who to get in touch with in an emergency. Review this every time you review your plan to make sure everything is up-to-date.
Create an inventory
When talking about continuity planning in terms of a natural disaster, many disaster recovery plans will include things like creating an inventory of all office equipment. The same should happen for your IT services. Create an inventory of all hardware and software and mark which components are essential. Each software package should have a provider contact which will need to be added to the contact list.
Make sure everyone is aware
One of the biggest problems with disaster recovery plans is that they are written, tested, placed in a folder and then forgotten about. Everyone in your business should be aware of the disaster recovery plan and everyone should know how to access it.
Cloud hosting can help to minimise the impact of data loss by creating a backup of your entire business setup on the cloud. Not only does this protect against data loss and downtime from security breaches, but it can also help to keep your business running seamlessly if your physical office is inaccessible or damaged.