According to last year’s annual ‘State of Preparedness’ survey in the Disaster Recovery Journal, only 38 percent of companies across a range of business sectors felt that they were ‘very prepared’ for a disaster or failure in their IT systems.
There’s good news though. The same survey reported that for the majority of companies, improving disaster recovery is a ‘top priority’. And since the first survey in 2008, there’s been a huge increase in the adoption of the advanced technologies needed to ensure that companies can continue to keep their systems safe.
It’s clear that businesses must plan for the worst. Human and mechanical disasters are inevitable and can cause all sorts of mayhem unless a robust disaster recovery plan has been set in place.
So if you want to keep your systems running, your customers happy and your reputation intact, read our seven steps needed to create a successful disaster recovery plan.
1. Create your disaster recovery contingency planning team
Your first step is to select the employees who will form your contingency planning team.
You’ll need a good mix here, so consider choosing people who can bring a variety of perspectives on the company’s vulnerabilities to the table. Make sure you include representatives from all the main departments within your business, including HR, facilities and high-level managers.
2. List all names and contact details
Next, create a list of all employees’ names with all methods of communication for each one, ensuring that this is regularly updated. You may need to access this info quickly, so it needs to be accurate. Communication should include personal and work contact details.
3. Determine a chain of command
A system disaster is a high stress event. This means that a clear chain of command and authority needs to be put in place well in advance to determine who’s in charge if and when any key personnel are missing.
During a critical incident, this will help your whole team understand who’s in charge in the chaos that may ensue after a disaster has taken place.
4. Consider your risk assessment
When creating your disaster recovery plan, preparation is everything. So review as many potential disaster scenarios as you can, and create a checklist of things that might possibly go wrong. Then consider how each one of those situations would affect your core business, your revenue streams, your customer service and your employees.
5. Do you have a ‘Plan B’?
Your ‘Plan B’ planning is when you think about what’ll happen if your primary disaster recovery plan is not actionable.
For example, if your usual premises are unavailable, you’ll need to consider if employees can work from home or if you can share the facilities of another company temporarily. Your top priority may well be keeping your revenue flowing, in which case you’ll need to consider what people, equipment, space, supplies, or services are needed to avoid any downtime?
6. Protect your company data
Data loss can have a huge impact on your business. Data protection and recovery is a key aspect of all disaster recovery planning, so getting on top of them will result in good business continuity.
Bare Machine Recovery (BMR) provides a complete protection solution, assisting in the rapid recovery of machines to a pre-disaster state. Replication software can also help you quickly clone your systems to another environment, for example a virtual network or into the cloud.
7. Test, test and test again!
We suggest that you run a regular testing drill to make sure your new disaster recovery plan actually works. And scheduling regular recovery simulations ensures that your systems are up and running before the CEO – and your customers – even notice!