The unfortunate fact is that disasters are happening more and more frequently. Effects of severe weather, the heightened level of cyber criminal activity and even terrorist attacks are regularly in the news. If you cannot afford to have your operations halted for days or even weeks, as a result of your data and applications becoming inaccessible, lost, or corrupted, then read and act on these 5 disaster planning tips. Make sure your organization could be back up and running in a reasonable time frame in the event of a disaster.
- Have a written employee safety and communication plan. In the event of a disaster, employees may not be able to access your office, email or phones. Your plan should include details on what disasters are most likely in your area and a step-by-step process of what to do, who should do it, and how. Include contact information for various providers and critical username and password information. Be sure to notify your insurance company as soon as possible of any losses. Once written, print copies to store offsite and with your IT consultant.
- Have a written customer communication plan. If the event is likely to affect your customers, you need a means to keep them informed during and following a disaster event. Explain the steps you are taking to deal with the situation. Be prepared for a high volume of inquiries or requests. Consider various means of communication depending on what may be functional. Do you need backup communication systems? How you handle this will affect your reputation.
- Minimize computer systems downtime. In order to determine the best option for getting your computer systems back up and running, you must first decide how long a period of downtime you are willing to tolerate: 1 hour, 4 hours, 1 day?. Next you need to decide how much data you can tolerate losing, which is a function of how often your data is backed up. Once these are determined, a suitable solution can be chosen. Note that affordable solutions are now available which will back up full images of your Servers locally and off-site to the cloud. Some will even include fully functional copies of your Server(s) in the cloud, which can be put into use in the event that your local Server(s) are unavailable or have been destroyed. This keeps your IT systems in operation while you get your on-site systems restored. Consider the costs of downtime when deciding how much to spend on your data backup and disaster recovery solution.
- Secure your facility. Review the physical security of where you do business. Some areas to consider are:
- Fire suppression system
- Generators capable of powering essential equipment
- Uninterruptible power supply systems for critical servers
- Surge protectors
- Alarm/intercom systems to alert employees of emergencies
- Video surveillance system
- Test your plans. Only by testing your disaster plans can you identify shortfalls or areas overlooked. Testing also provides some peace of mind that the systems you have put in place will work if called upon.
Planning for potential disasters and how you will recover from them should be a critical aspect of running any organization. Unfortunately, many companies fail to give disaster planning the attention it deserves or grasp how time consuming the recovery process can be, especially if un-prepared. It’s important to consider the costs of downtime, including the potential of lost profits, lost customers, damaged reputation and legal liability.
One of the most critical aspects to ensuring continuity of your business, should a disaster occur, is ensuring your data and applications are securely backed up and available as quickly as possible. Contact BSC Solutions Group and learn about our affordable, data backup and business continuity solution, BEFORE a crisis occurs.