We rely on computerized technology for just about everything these days. Unfortunately, most people don't know how to protect their businesses in the event of a disaster, be it environmental or man-made. So, they leave themselves vulnerable to system failures.
Don't let a storm or cyber attack ruin everything you worked hard for. Regardless of the type of business you own, it's up to you to keep sensitive data and the company's technologies safe.
In some situations, you won't be able to stop the occurrence of an IT disaster, but there are precautions you can take to lessen the blow if one should happen. Don't know exactly where to start?
We'll walk you through the key points you should include in your IT disaster recovery plan in this article. Just keep reading.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document you should have on hand with instructions on how to handle unplanned incidents that could shut down your company's IT systems that can hinder its overall operation.
The DRP should be designed to get your business up and running as quickly as possible in the event of a disaster or data breach. With an effective plan set in place, you decrease the chance of losing out on profits for too long.
An effective DRP should also have backups set in place to prevent sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands. This can be things like social security numbers or credit card information.
Some of the disasters that can possibly cause such data breaches are:
- Terrorist attacks
- Cyber attacks
These disasters all have the ability to put a company out of business for good. Adapting a more layered security approach can help prevent breaches regardless of their cause.
These Should be Included in Your DRP
An effective DRP should include precautions that minimize the impact of a disaster. This will help your company either continue to run smoothly or have a very small amount of downtime.
If you are operating out of more than one location, it's important to make sure the employees at all of your sites know what to do. This includes knowing who they should contact, whether it's you or the authorities.
Any DRP that's set up should have your company's most important aspects in mind. The plan should be well detailed and easy to access during an emergency.
Here are 5 more components that will make your business's IT disaster recovery plan strong:
How Much Data Loss and Downtime Can You Afford?
Your planning for a possible data breach should start with this questions. The reason is, different businesses will depend on their computer systems differently.
For instance, if you are a plumber, you can work quite without too many servers or technology. However, if you run an online store, you can't probably can't afford to have your site down for several hours let alone several days.
This step will include listing the most important applications your business can't live without.
Analyze Potential Threats and Possible Reactions
You need to take time to analyze all the possible factors that can interrupt your flow of business. Once you've done that, create a different recovery plan for each of those scenarios.
Cyber attacks, for example, are becoming more common and likely to occur. And unfortunately, the average firewall isn't strong enough to protect from most of them.
Because of this, you should look at the possibility of a cyber attack more deeply than you would, say, a tsunami. This can involve encrypting data and securing hardware.
Understand the vulnerabilities that are within your systems. These are the points of entry a hacker will use to gain access.
The best way you can do this is to educate yourself about the many schemes hackers use. The majority of phishing and malware infections can be avoided.
Employees and Customers
Don't focus primarily on technology when establishing your DRP. You need to also think about the people who keep your business running.
You need to assign roles so that it's clear who should be responding during a disaster and what exactly they should be doing. Additionally, you will need their home and cell numbers along with their email addresses. They should have yours too.
Making these factors part of your planning process will prevent stumbling and confusion during what is bound to be a chaotic time.
Also, think about your customers. You can use an automated message or even social media to communicate what's happening. This is important if you're business is primarily online.
Update the Plan
Your DRP plan should account for each individualized part of your IT ecosystem. This should include everything from hardware, software, and data.
Because there will be changes made in your business as new technology rolls out and your company grows, your DRP should be updated often.
This is especially important if you've made major software updates. This is relevant because your DRP will be incomplete until there is a plan for all the technology you use.
This is a mistake many business owners make because they don't take these changes into account. Several years ago, you would have been able to use the same DRP for an extended period, but that really isn't possible today. Technology is changing faster than ever.
Make sure you are also setting realistic priorities in place. Not everything is going to need to be protected, just as everything isn't worth saving.
Proprietary and financial information should absolutely be protected. But information that's already available to the public isn't going to be as important.
None of these components will help you or your team execute your DRP if you're fumbling during the real emergency. You need to implement regular practice drills that involve your IT department.
Create a scenario outside of your regular business hours where your systems shut down. Choose whether it's a storm or cyber attack. See how long it takes to get things up and running again.
After each drill, have a meeting to see where you can improve and what was done well.
The more you practice, the less stressed you will be in a real emergency. Your preparedness will pay off.
A data breach can reduce your revenue and even cost you your customer's trust. The last thing you want is to be unprepared if a one were to arise.
Contact us to help with your foolproof disaster recovery plan today. We're here to help.