Loss of data is a real problem for all businesses. It could be because of a cyberattack, a natural or environmental disaster, such as flooding, or a serious failure within a computer system. Whatever the cause, the downtime that follows can be a major headache for business owners. A disaster recovery plan is a considered strategy to help you resume operations as quickly as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the things everyone needs to know about recovering from serious data loss.
For IT professionals, disaster recovery is an essential part of keeping information systems safe. For businesses, it goes even further, because it deals with the capacity of the business to carry on functioning after a data loss incident. It’s not just about getting up and running again, though that’s obviously crucial. Losing confidential client data can be a PR disaster and, in many sectors, businesses are required to inform customers that their information has been compromised. A comprehensive data recovery plan protects businesses on several fronts. Here are three things to understand about a disaster recovery plan and how to manage it.
Make Sure You’re Prepared
A disaster recovery plan needn’t be a hugely complicated strategy that will be a nightmare to implement after data has been lost. For most smaller businesses, it can be a relatively simple but clear plan, so that you’re prepared to enter recovery mode. It could be as simple as implementing an efficient data backup and recovery solution. It can be more complicated for larger companies, but data backup and ease of restoration are the bottom line.
Whether your organization is big or small, if you find yourself in a disaster situation, being prepared is key to getting back on your feet as fast as possible. One way to do this is to go through your responses in advance, instead of waiting until the worst-case scenario has become a reality. You need to have a clear understanding of how your data backup system works and who is responsible for managing different elements of your IT and DR platform. You should set objectives. Specifying a recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) means that you know how far back in time you need to go to restore your operations, and the amount of time available in which to complete the recovery operation.
Studies suggest that about 25% of businesses that have a disaster recovery platform don’t test it in advance. It should be obvious that this isn’t the smartest way to go. You need to be confident that the DR platform you’ve invested in is fit for purpose when the need for it arises. Data loss is stressful enough for business owners. Tech failure on top of that is the last thing that’s needed. You don’t have to be obsessive about DR testing, but making sure it’s working properly at least once a year is recommended.
One of the reasons why businesses may neglect DR testing is that it probably will cause some disruption to your business IT, and some downtime. But think of the trade-off. A little bit of time lost once a year is nothing in comparison to the time you could waste if you do experience serious data loss and aren’t able to recover it because your DR system isn’t functioning properly. IT systems are dynamic, and you may well discover that changes in other parts of the system have impacted your DR solution in one way or another. Annual testing allows you to fix any issues so you can rest easy, knowing your data has a safety net without holes in it.
As with all IT systems, a disaster recovery solution is software that ultimately depends on human operators and exists to make the work of users easier. Your disaster recovery strategy should be designed to serve the needs of your staff. Let’s say your premises are inaccessible after a fire or similar disaster. Is your system set up so that staff can access the data they need, once it’s restored?
This is a scenario that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, few businesses had planned for a global pandemic, where people were required to work from home. Those businesses that were geared up for remote working were able to adjust much faster than those that weren’t. Some were unable to adapt, sometimes because they didn’t have the financial resources needed to install new systems that allowed them to comply with shelter-in-place mandates in the pandemic’s first phase.
Don’t let inadequate planning hold you back when challenges to your business arise. If you’d like help with a disaster recovery platform and business continuity, call our IT experts at Quikteks today, at (973) 882-4644.