It’s human nature to avoid addressing worst case scenarios unless you absolutely have to. But if you’re a business owner, sticking your head in the sand until something goes wrong is no longer a viable strategy to adopt. Especially in today’s technological landscape, where getting hacked or even a natural disaster can derail your business operations through protracted amounts of downtime, in addition to critical and confidential company data becoming compromised or worse, lost and unrecoverable.
The best way to be prepared is to proactively develop and implement a disaster recovery strategy before catastrophe strikes. But what should a good, comprehensive IT disaster recovery plan include?
- Backup Solutions for Data
While you may have on-site redundancies in place for your company’s files and information, it is now considered a necessity to have an off-site cloud backup solution in place, as well. Not only do cloud solutions address convenience and security concerns, they also enable ease of data recovery in the event that something goes wrong.
- Disaster Recovery Team
A disaster recovery plan for your organization will only be as effective as the team you put behind it. That means you should have a team of employees – both IT and operations-focused – who are briefed and ready in case of an emergency. In addition to ensuring knowledge and understanding of the plan and their designated roles by this team, also include and communicate all relevant emergency contact information of those team members within the plan itself.
- Third-Party Contact List
From hardware and software vendors to ISPs and data centers, your disaster recovery plan needs to include a thorough list of all necessary contacts outside of your organization.
- Diagrams & Directions
Outlining network diagrams and procedures for what to do in an emergency should not happen for the first time when something goes wrong. Instead, outline standards of procedures and any necessary diagrams in advance, so you can take immediate action.
- Recurring Updates
A disaster recovery plan should not be considered a static document. To that end, your plan should include scheduled reviews to ensure that everything contained within the plans itself – from contacts to procedures – are up-to-date and aligned with your current business objectives.
Consider a Partner
No matter how large or small the scale of your disaster recovery plan, it’s often a good idea to enlist the assistance of an outsourced IT firm – commonly known as a managed services provider – to either help develop or do a final review of your disaster recovery plan. With a managed services provider, you will have their full team of expertise at your disposal, while you can focus on your more revenue-generating initiatives.
Don’t Forget to Test Your Plan
Once you have an IT disaster recovery plan in place, take the time to walk through test scenarios on a regular basis. It’s because it’s not enough to just have the plan – you need to confirm with your team that your plan is a viable one. Moreover, practice makes perfect; so the more you test your strategy ahead of time, the more prepared you’ll be when something goes wrong.