Many small and mid-sized business owners equate disaster recovery with ensuring they have a good data backup plan.
While backup and recovery is an important part of IT disaster recovery, it’s just one part of an entire business continuity strategy for your technology infrastructure.
Over 75% of small business owners don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. This leaves them vulnerable to devastating downtime that can cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in some cases, it can cost them their business.
Your IT infrastructure is one of the most important pieces of your operations, and a majority of companies can’t operate without technology. This makes it vital to put together a strong IT disaster recovery strategy, beyond just data backup.
Steps for a Robust IT Disaster Recovery Strategy
Inventory All IT Assets & What They do
Before you can put together a plan to protect your IT assets, you need to know what your assets are, what they do, and how important they are to your daily operations.
Inventory all parts of your IT environment, including:
- Mobile devices
- Cloud Applications
- Printers & other IoT devices
- Service providers (like your ISP)
Not only is having an inventory like this a good best practice for a business, it also allows you to get the big picture of what’s included in your technology environment and which systems are dependent upon each other.
Identify What Can Go Wrong
Next, it’s vital to look at worst case scenarios and identify all the potential things that could take your IT offline or cause downtime in a specific area.
Not all events will have the same level of impact. It’s a good idea to use a priority level to indicate which disasters would be more impactful on your business so they can be addressed first when budgeting.
For example, an internet outage that takes your entire office offline for several hours would be more impactful and cost you more than a printer malfunctioning and needing servicing.
Look at all types of scenarios that could occur, such as:
- Service provider outage
- Hardware crash
- Damage due to natural or manmade disaster
- Theft or loss of device
- Data breach or malware event
- Data loss incident
- And more
Come Up With Mitigation Strategies
There are two main goals with IT disaster recovery planning. One is mitigating an event and the other is lessening the impact of an event.
Look at all the crisis types that you could potentially mitigate to come up with strategies to reduce your risk.
For example, in the case of a data breach or malware infection, there are steps you can take to reduce the chance that an event would occur. This includes things like following the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to strengthen defenses and having an IT provider manage your IT security.
In the case of a storm causing physical damage to equipment, you could put a procedure in place to take all equipment offsite in the case of an impending hurricane, so everyone isn’t left scrambling at the last minute.
Develop Fast Recovery Strategies
Next you want to address lessening the impact of a crisis event, which includes having strategies that allow you to adjust and recover quickly.
This is where having a good backup strategy comes into play. If you’re hit with ransomware or another data loss incident, having a recoverable copy of all your data can allow you to turn what may have been days of downtime into just a few hours.
Recovery strategies also involve having contingency plans for services that might go out. For example, you may want to have a secondary ISP provider that you can quickly switch over to should your main provider have an outage.
Using the priorities that you identified when looking at what could go wrong, come up with disaster recovery strategies, with the highest priority being budgeted for first.
Put Your Plan Down on Paper & Timeline It
Once you have identified what you need for mitigation and quick recovery for any number of crisis events that could cause an IT outage, you want to put all this down on paper. It’s important to create an actionable plan as well as an IT disaster recovery guide that your team can follow should an event occur.
If you simply identify what you need, but never get around to putting everything into place, you’re left just as unprotected as when you began the process.
Prioritize a rollout of systems to put in place and address each area by priority.
Once your systems are in place, you should regularly train your employees on your IT disaster recovery strategies, do drills to become familiar with the emergency procedures, and keep your plan updated as IT changes occur.
Need Help With Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan?
C Solutions can help your Orlando area business take all the steps above, so you have an affordable and solid IT disaster plan in place.
Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.