Rarely does a day go by that we don’t hear of a big-name company losing consumer data. Whether it’s a security threat or a natural disaster, it’s not a matter of if something will go wrong — it’s a matter of when. Your job as a business leader is to ensure that you’re prepared for the worst. All it takes is a little preparation to make you the hero of your town’s next digital disaster.
First, let’s set one thing straight: A disaster recovery plan involves much more than just data backups. Backups are important, but make up a small part of a much larger strategy. Disaster recovery (DR) begins with a thorough threat and impact analysis before defining a strategy that outlines the responsibilities of your employees and the technology solutions you’ll use to minimize damage to your business.
Let’s go over four steps your DR plan should follow.
Perform a business impact analysis
A DR plan template is sometimes a good starting point, but it’s important to remember that every business faces different threats with varying consequences. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to planning for any possible eventuality.
The first step to personalizing your plan is building an inventory of every IT system your company relies on to function. You’ll need to consider hardware, networking designs, operating systems, firmware and other software, as well as any cloud-hosted resources you currently use. It’s essential to know where your data is stored, how secure it is, and what the consequences would be if a particular system were to unexpectedly go offline or any confidential data were to end up in the wrong hands.
Conduct a risk assessment
Your cybersecurity risks vary widely depending on where your data is stored, which controls are currently in place to protect it, and how important it is for day-to-day business. For example, data stored in an in-house customer relationship management app may be more vulnerable than data stored in the cloud.
Avoiding data breaches is an important part of any DR strategy, but you also need to consider the possibility of a natural disaster destroying your data. In Charlotte, that may happen because of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and wildfires. Other possible disasters include hardware failures and human error, which are also common causes of costly unscheduled downtime. With your risk and business impact analyses, you can begin to put together the right set of solutions.
Define your risk-management strategy
Moving your IT to the cloud is a great way to keep data safe, since most solutions will store the data in several physical locations to prevent a single point of failure and boast of 24/7 monitoring along with cutting-edge security measures. But even then you still need a plan.
A cloud-based DR strategy requires vetting potential service providers based on which has the best track record and can address requirements specific to your company. The two most important requirements you need to define are your recovery point objective (RPO) and your recovery time objective (RTO), which refer to the maximum amount of data you can afford to lose and the maximum amount of time it should take to open your doors for business. That information will make it much easier to pick the right managed IT services provider.
Test, update, and optimize
A DR plan isn’t something you draw up and then let gather dust in a filing cabinet. It’s a dynamic document that must be regularly adapted to your changing business environment. One of the many advantages of a cloud-hosted DR solution is that it’s inherently flexible and scalable. It’s also easy to test and optimize, since it allows you to download backups to a computer outside your office, allowing you to measure response times and data accuracy.
You’ll want to update your plan every time you make a significant change to your technology infrastructure or employee responsibilities. Regular auditing, testing, optimization, and updating are critical to weathering a disaster.
Spectrumwise provides cloud-hosted data backup and disaster-recovery services to businesses in and around Charlotte. Call us today to request a free, personalized assessment.