Your business can implement the most sound measures to prepare for every eventuality and still be sidelined by a disaster beyond anyone's control. Some of these are human in nature - mistakes from your IT specialists, crashed systems, team miscommunication.
Others are completely unpredictable such as, natural disasters, power outages, and more. Disaster recovery helps you prepare for those frustrating occurrences by providing a clear, concise plan of action to follow in order to maintain, or recover vital business processes, even in the midst of an outage. This subset of business continuity is critical to your overall plan to maintain your IT functionality and stay in business.
If Your Technology Isn't Functioning, You're Hemorrhaging Money
Every minute that your employees are unable to work is costly. Not only are your salaried employees still receiving pay whether they're able to work or not, you're missing out on potential business. And, the longer it takes you to get up and running again, the more business opportunities will right past your company and on to your competition. Furthermore, there's the cost of lost data, machines that have been destroyed, and the technical manpower necessary to bring it all up again. In short, not being able to recover from a disaster can equate to a financial disaster.
Creating Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Think through the most essential technology at your business. This might be software or other vital programs that you can’t do business without. Are your employees reliant on an internal network that contains important business data, or can they function smoothly from their laptops while you focus on bringing up other systems? Make sure that your disaster recovery plan includes:
- Contingency plans for the various subsets of your technology that could go down, such as, loss of your data center versus a natural disaster that temporarily knocks out power at your business's primary location.
- A smooth plan of action for every member of the team, including who is expected to complete certain specific responses and at what times. This will prevent too many people from trying to do the same tasks, while other tasks are left unattended.
- A plan for restoring your most important data, should it be lost due to human error or disaster. This might include where your backups are kept (ideally offsite from your primary business location) or how they will be restored in the event of a disaster.
- A full inventory of all your vital systems that will enable you to quickly and smoothly replace the hardware your business needs in order to function smoothly.
- Full backup of all your software, data, and apps so that no matter where you are, you can flip a switch and continue to run your business as if no disaster has occurred.
In certain areas of the country you might know when certain natural disasters are more likely to happen, such as tornadoes in the Midwest or hurricanes on the East Coast. Even with this, your business should be prepared for anything to happen at any time, whether natural or manmade. By developing a clear, concise disaster recovery plan with elements for all contingencies, however, you'll discover that you can have your business running smoothly again in no time.
The Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan
If you've had the attitude in the past that you would deal with a disaster when and if it arrived, it's time to change your perspective! Proactively developing your disaster recovery plan now--when you aren't in trouble--has a number of benefits for your business.
- You retain higher levels of customer trust, since they know they can count on you even in the event of a disaster
- You're able to get your business up and running again fast, rather than fumbling around for a solution
- Everyone on your team knows what's expected of them in the event of a disaster
- You're able to keep your business running from anywhere, loading all of your vital software and data to another location just by flipping a switch.
Businesses that aren’t actively operating are not in business, which means lost revenue and high amounts of stress for your personnel and clients. A solid disaster recovery plan will help minimize or even eliminate your downtime.At Access Business Technologies, we use Amazon and Microsoft Azure's cloud technology, among our own data centers in two different locations. This means that if one goes down, you're able to continue to access your data from the other site. We also harness the power of Microsoft's business continuity program, which allows you to quickly and smoothly transfer the processing power needed for many of your applications in the event of a disaster. If creating a disaster recovery plan seems like a daunting task or you want to see if yours is viable, contact us to learn how we can help with our suite of versatile cloud services.