Disaster in the workplace is never predictable. You’ll never know when it will happen or how bad the damage will be. However, with a well thought out disaster recovery plan, you can rest easy knowing your data and IT systems will up and running soon after the disaster strikes. To get this peace of mind, take these steps BEFORE disaster strikes.
1. Recognize threats — Keep a running list of potential disasters that might affect your company. Include everything from weather-related issues that frequently happen in your area to more routine problems like power outages, hardware failure, and data loss. Start with the highest risk situation and identify what assets may be threatened. What is the impact of a potential loss? Let the value of the threatened assets guide your recovery planning.
2. Predict effects to define solutions — For each potential threat you identify, define how each business area will be affected. Each department will have unique needs and some resources like email access and local network files will be universal. What processes need to be established to get vital systems up and running again?
3. Assess downtime tolerance — How long can your company function without IT resources? It’s likely that some areas may need IT support for minute-to-minute operation, while others can deal with downtime for hours or even days. Assess the potential impact on your services and the true cost of downtime on each department to prioritize recovery solutions.
4. Create solutions — Build any safety nets and redundancies necessary for your systems to function properly when disaster does strike. In this stage, an outside eye can be helpful in recommending optimal technologies to meet your unique needs. Disaster recovery technologies include backup servers and network traffic switches, uninterrupted power supplies, and disk or tape backup. Migrating functions to the cloud enable your IT to work from anywhere, should the worst happen.
5. Educate employees — Make sure your employees are trained and empowered to execute the recovery plan by assigning clear roles and responsibilities. Train each team member to execute their part of the plan. Use training and dry runs to ensure plans are realistic and feasible.
Disaster may strike at any time, but there’s no reason to fear being caught unprepared.