One of the biggest mistakes that business owners can make is to expect that they’d never encounter any form of setback. In an ideal world, business conditions will always be safe and unhampered, and nothing will get in the way of a solid profit.
But in reality, establishments are always vulnerable to many types of disaster, including the following:
- Physical disasters like hurricanes, floods, and fires can result in heavy damage to both business hardware;
- Digital disasters like data breaches, ransomware, and other types of cybercrime, and;
- Disturbances are related to infrastructure-related failures, like power outages.
Knowing this, sensible business owners should do what they can to protect their physical and digital assets, train their staff on how to respond to disasters in real-time, and cushion the business against an even worse impact the next time around. And this is where the importance of disaster recovery planning comes in.
An effective disaster recovery plan should consider three things: the actual process of disaster recovery, business continuity, and an assessment of the business impact. You will be well-positioned to ensure that these considerations are met if you also have the following:
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Dedicated Protocols & Procedures for Disaster Situations
The natural human reaction to a disaster is feeling lost, disoriented, confused, or even scared about the circumstances.
But a business owner can prevent the “headless chicken” kind of panic mode from overtaking their staff by consolidating disaster recovery protocols and designating a special disaster response team within the office.
The disaster response guidelines can spell out what exactly employees should do in different disaster-related solutions, and—just as importantly—whose lead they should follow when executing the disaster recovery plan.
Staff need not wait until the very last moment to practice their response and their coordination with one another. The disaster response team can oversee the testing of recovery-related technologies as soon as possible, and they can also hold quick tests for real-life scenarios.
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The Right Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution
A business should also have a dedicated strategy for backing up business data. Ideally, this includes the use of a backup disaster recovery solution that enables frequent backup of business-critical data. If something catastrophic were to happen, the company will be able to recover its data and continue with its operations as soon as possible.
It’s a good idea for an enterprise to use not only a cloud solution but also hardware options for disaster recovery.
These options include a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance as a priority, and USB drives and external hard drives as other forms of backup just in case. Some can be kept onsite while others can be stored in alternate or offsite locations.
A-List of Critical Duties to be Fulfilled During a Disaster Recovery Situation
Some types of disasters will require a business to pause certain activities but continue with others. Business staff needs to be able to determine their priorities way in advance and determine which tasks to dedicate their energy to.
A good rule of thumb is to identify the most urgent and time-sensitive of business functions and processes and then follow that hierarchy.
For example, tasks like establishing a new data center and updating customer data and communications can be established as top priorities.
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An Inventory of the Hardware and Software Necessary for Recovery
Next, businesses should be able to list all the hardware and software they’ll need to recover and to get back on track, depending on the type of disaster. The inventory can be comprised of the following:
- Business hardware like desktop machines, laptops, computer peripherals, and power supply accessories;
- Restored networks, servers, and firewalls that enable day-to-day business;
- Restored and secured access to business software applications (e.g. ERP software, billing and payroll system, and CRM software) and;
Checking off on the essentials will allow businesses to narrow the gap between their post-disaster downtime (which can be devastating on their finances, no matter how short) and their uptime.
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A Means to Do Business Impact Analysis
Lastly, businesses should incorporate business impact analysis into their overall disaster recovery plans.
This should involve a comprehensive assessment of what happened, how much and what the business lost as a result, how quick and effective the response was, and how the existing plan can be improved for future use.
It’s wise for business owners and their staff to identify the point at which the business has enough resources to operate normally again. Once everyone knows what the benchmark is, it will be easier to focus on getting there.
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Once again, no business establishment has any control over when a disaster will hit. It’s possible that something could go awry as soon as tomorrow or as late as in the next few years.
But if you are a business owner, you must cultivate a sense of urgency about what the future might bring, and you must commit to being proactive about your disaster recovery planning.
This is what will allow you and your staff to keep your composure when the unthinkable happens—and more importantly, to get back to running your business.