What is Disaster Recovery?
Sometimes you’ll hear people referring to computers as “disaster waiting to happen.” This may seem like an exaggeration, but in reality, the damage done by a computer disaster can be quite significant, both to your business and personal life. The IT world is very aware of this fact, which is why contingency plans are in place for what happens when everything goes wrong. One of these plans is the Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy.
Disaster Recovery Plan
A Disaster Recovery Plan is a strategy designed to get the computer back up and running in the event of a disaster. A disaster could be anything from a natural disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, etc., to a man-made disaster such as theft, fire, or vandalism. In either case, it is important to get the computer back up and running as quickly as possible. This is where a DR Plan comes into play. As part of this plan, your business will have made provisions for backup data files and backup computer hardware in case of a catastrophic event that damages your main data center or Computer rooms. In the event of a disaster, the backup hardware is used to create a new computer environment from the backup data files. In this way, you avoid creating non-functional systems which could waste time and money.
In addition to this cautionary step, not all businesses have a contingency plan in place for a disaster. This is especially important for organizations that depend on their computer systems. Computer networks can cause your business major inconvenience if they are disrupted because of damage that has been done to the system or network itself. Therefore having a Disaster Recovery Plan will help protect your organization from loss or damage to its computer systems during both natural disasters as well as man-made disasters.
There are costs involved with maintaining a Disaster Recovery Plan. These costs can be offset, however, if a disaster does occur and your organization’s computer network can continue operation using the backup data files and hardware. If a disaster occurs, the following expenses may not be applicable: lost productivity of employees, cost of downtime, or even loss of information that was not backed up for that period. In addition to the monetary benefits, having a Disaster Recovery Plan in place will help protect your company from further damage from having its computer systems destroyed or damaged by a natural or man-made disaster.
In today’s business world, competitive advantage depends on whether business information systems are available for use by customers. There are many ways in which information systems are vulnerable. Natural disasters, power outages, theft or sabotage, or criminal action can all result in IT failure. A well-laid-out contingency plan for dealing with the effect of these vulnerabilities is an important part of an overall business continuity strategy.
How to secure your Business from Disaster?
There are some simple steps that you can take to develop a business continuity strategy for your organization’s IT system.
- Start by understanding the problem that you face. What is the event that threatens your system? Fire, Flooding, Theft of computer equipment, etc are some examples
- List detailed action plans for each step of the chain of events above.
- Identify who your top decision-makers are and arrange meetings with them to discuss the event
- Prioritise, prioritize, prioritize. Be sure that all three points are addressed by importance
- Identify all the responsibilities for carrying out actions
- Test what you have proposed against worst-case outcomes to make sure it will work
- Assign responsibilities to responsible persons and establish accountability
- Make sure that you have backup plans in place in case something goes wrong
- The last step is to check the contingency plans that are already in place
- Master your risk management strategy
- Have your best people working on this to make sure they are fully aware of it so you don’t get surprised when the problem occurs
- Think about how long it will take for an event to occur and plan for this so that you can be prepared when it happens
- Make your strategy work for your organization, not just IT equipment
The best way in which to ensure that your business takes care of its IT equipment is to make sure you have a DR plan in place in advance. You could even call this plan an “IT Continuity Plan” if you like.
How Do IT Companies Help to Avoid Disaster?
Many companies can help you plan for IT disasters. Whether it is due to fire, theft, or other causes, it is important that you take the appropriate precautions so that your business can continue uninterrupted when disaster strikes. Some companies recommend having a DR plan in place one year in advance of an actual disaster happening. Having this kind of preparation will help save you time and money by ensuring that your business will not suffer long after the disaster has struck because of lost data or equipment failure.
In addition to the CIO, other roles must be taken into consideration when it comes to making sure that a disaster doesn’t happen.
- You should have a senior staff member or leader who is responsible for the DR, having a plan, and doing the necessary training for everyone else to make sure they understand their role in meeting this mandate.
- It is crucial that you have a good quality of service from your IT equipment that is monitored and maintained regularly by trained IT staff members who know how to get it back up and running again quickly if necessary. This means having hardware that can survive fire, theft, or vandalism by meeting special fire-safety requirements if needed.
- You must ensure that your organization has the appropriate policies in place, including staff training and procedures to ensure that your IT equipment is always ready for use. This ensures that your staff will understand their role in making sure that an IT disaster doesn’t happen.
- Make sure you have good backup plans ahead of time, including verification of backups against the original data files to make sure they are accurate and up-to-date. The last step is always to make sure you are prepared for any disaster situation by having a contingency plan ready before it happens, because if not this will lead to more losses after the fact.