Disasters are the bane of business continuity. Production halts, employees are unable to perform, client and customers' questions go unanswered, and crucial data gets lost.
Crises, catastrophes, and interruptions come without warning and don’t discriminate based on the size of a business. According to a 2018 IT resiliency survey, 70% of businesses had at least one outage, 66% believe their organization is at risk of IT interruption, and of all the interruptions experienced, 53% were outages from natural disaster and 23% happened when implementing new technology.
Even small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have to deal with these eventualities, which is why it’s so important to have a disaster recovery plan (DRP). It's just a part of surviving and thriving in our digital world. However, there are common mistakes that undermine a DRP. These are mistakes your organization must avoid.
1) Undervaluing the importance of DRP
Many businesses think an IT disaster is low on the priority list. They create DRPs only to satisfy auditors or regulators and opt for set-it-and-forget-it solutions until a crisis comes along to show them how wrong they were.
Of course, compliance is important. However, dispassionately following frameworks like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) doesn't guarantee a successful recovery plan. An organization can't make a reliable DRP, unless it takes threats seriously.
Businesses need to expand their idea of what constitutes a disaster to include common catastrophes such power outages, network interruptions, malware attacks, and data breaches. DRPs must have a wide scope to be relevant to all possible threats to business' continuity, not only natural disasters.
2) Not testing enough
Frequent testing needs to be a priority to determine if a DRP is keeping pace with updates and changes within your IT infrastructure. However, many organizations test their disaster recovery once and think that's enough.
DRPs should be tested regularly with mock drills. This helps businesses fine-tune their plans so nothing is out of date if a fateful event occurs. Testing also familiarizes employees with recovery procedures and adds an important human component to the process.
Every facet of your plan should be tested, including data recovery, application recovery, and backup communications channels. Restoring company communications is often overlooked despite being extremely important. If these channels are not regularly tested, communication will fall apart during a disaster and recovery will fail.
3) Only worrying about data and downtime
Recovering data and minimizing downtime are integral to business continuity. However, disasters also affect your most valuable resource, your workforce. DRPs should guide employees on how to pitch in during a disaster, such as keeping their coworkers updated and helping overburdened customer service teams.
Your recovery plan should also outline where employees can work and keep business moving, including which cloud solutions will be available to them if the office is inaccessible. But don’t forget to consider how your employees are affected by a disaster. There should also be a plan for what happens if an employee's home or family has also been affected by a catastrophe.
4) Creating a complicated and impossible DRP
A DRP can be the victim of analysis paralysis. Lengthy and verbose instructions are difficult to implement and should be avoided. Just remember, the people using this plan will be stressed, exhausted, and frantic.
Visual instructions are great for guiding people through high-pressure situations. Include flowcharts, checklists, and photos of what needs to be accomplished. They are quick and easy to understand and from our experience have much higher success rates during a disaster.
As experts in business continuity, data recovery, and data backups, Spectrumwise provides IT solutions to help you create, implement, and test a successful disaster recovery plan. Learn more about it and let us walk you through disaster preparedness for your SMB. Give us a call today.