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Why It’s Important to Have a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

Over the years, IT systems have become a core function of any successful business. Whether the company provides a service to the public or manages complex facilities, the networks, servers, workstations, and applications they use daily remains vital for the business’s continuity. Extended downtimes lead to damaged reputations, losses in revenue, and a massive amount of effort from staff to recover and reestablish access to customers or employees.

Disaster Recovery plans help organizations prepare and organize for unexpected events that could lead to downtimes or data-loss scenarios. A significant component of the plan entails defining and implementing policies and procedures to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or user errors. Based on the company’s risk profile, the necessary controls and preventative processes seek to eliminate, detect, and rectify any event that leads to a loss of service or supply from the company’s essential functions. For high-risk geographical regions like California, the disaster recovery plan should also include offsite backup and storage of all crucial company data.

Organizational Disaster Recovery Planning Essentials for IT Security and Business Continuity

Planning for the worst-case scenarios helps organizations understand the inherent risks in their daily business workflows. Studies suggest that between 40-60% of companies without a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place will go out of business after a catastrophic incident, while 96% of those who have implemented a system will be able to recover. Therefore, it’s essential to have a strategy in place for any business looking to grow and expand.

Proactive Planning for Disasters of All Kinds

The company needs to plan for both human-made and natural disasters. As part of the company’s contingency planning, they’ll need to understand every potential risk that could shut down their operations. In California, fires and earthquakes remain the most likely natural disaster that can befall a company. Structural damage to facilities and equipment can ruin an enterprise, while others can simply replace and restore their systems after the event.

Human-made disasters can come from either human error or an outright malicious cyber attack. The latest trend in cyber attacks is to inject ransomware into the network and shut down the company’s infrastructure. After the company pays the ransom (often in cryptocurrency), the bad actors provide them with a decryption key to restore the system. To prevent these kinds of attacks, the company needs a comprehensive cybersecurity system in place and proactive monitoring tools to help them detect and correct issues quickly and efficiently.

Map Out Core Functions and Critical Infrastructure

For a comprehensive Business Continuity Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution, the firm should map out their core functions and critical infrastructure required for operations to continue. Once the company identifies all their essential processes and the necessary infrastructure, they can establish controls and procedures to evacuate, replace, recover, or back up the systems they depend on for business continuity.

The plan should also extend to other critical assets that the company relies on for operations. This can include evacuating private records or confidential documents, ensuring machines have adequate fire protection, keeping all employees safe, and communicating all procedures clearly and effectively throughout the entire organization.

Create Contingencies for Emergency Response and Delegate the Duties

BCDR strategies require everyone in the company to know what to do when a disaster happens. The company should establish a DR team that ensures every department and function understands its role during a catastrophic event. The DR team should consider both the operational requirements and any other health and safety regulations. Keeping employees safe should always be the priority in case of a disaster.

The plan should clearly state each kind of response required depending on the event the company is experiencing. In cases of fire, employees may not have time to pack up their desks or remove any personal possessions during the evacuation. These types of considerations should be included when planning for a disaster.

Document and Test Plans Regularly

After the company’s plans are in place, they’ll need to document them and ensure everyone follows them explicitly. The organization should automate and schedule their backups wherever possible to prevent the process from failing if a key employee wasn’t available. Similarly, once they’ve documented the BCDR system, the company will need to run drills and tests to measure the efficacy of their response planning.

Conducting routine tests of the plan will highlight any deficiencies and allow employees to exercise their behavioral responses to an emergency. As the organization’s operations grow and scale, they’ll need to adapt the plans accordingly. A regular review of the BCDR system will help ensure the planning doesn’t become outdated and ineffective in the future.

Smile Business Systems Inc. for Seamless Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Smile has strategic partnerships with backup and disaster recovery firms, as well as a team of in-house resources that can help organizations weather any storm. For organizations who’ve yet to start planning for a worst-case scenario, every day presents a risk to their company’s sustainability. Smile provides managed services and solutions with a variety of productivity tools to help businesses succeed in any challenging environment.

For more information about Business Continuity Disaster Recovery solutions, or to request an assessment of your company’s BCDR initiatives, speak to one of Smile’s experts today.