Did you know that one hour of downtime can cost a small business up to $8,000 in productivity loss? The numbers are higher for larger companies. For example, mid-sized businesses can lose almost $75,000 for every hour of downtime, and large enterprises can lose almost $700,000 in total.
Luckily, it is possible to design a disaster recovery plan to mitigate some of these losses, especially when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses.
Disaster recovery planning refers to a series of solutions that will help a business get back on its feet after a major natural or man-made disaster that interrupted the workflow. Keep reading to discover the key elements of a brilliant disaster recovery plan and how to design one for your business.
Identify Your Assets and the Most Vulnerable Systems
The first step in designing a great disaster recovery plan involves identifying key assets and system vulnerabilities. For example, you probably store most of your business data on one or more servers or computer systems. If these computers crash, your company can be sent back to the Stone Age. Protecting these systems is paramount to ensure the continuity of your business.
Therefore, make a list of the most important computers and servers in your company. Add other valuable IT equipment to this list such as large hard drives, etc. Protecting these key assets is the main objective of your disaster recovery plan.
Ensure That Your Data Is Backed up in the Cloud
Data backup is highly recommended for small and medium-sized businesses. This involves making copies of the data on your computers and storing them online. Cloud backup services can be fully automated and they give business owners more peace of mind. In case of disaster, you can simply recover your precious data from a previous backup and get back on your feet.
Datto is an excellent provider of cloud backup services. You can decide to back up your data automatically once every few hours or even more often. If something bad happens, you will be immediately notified by mail and/or phone and you can take action to save your business.
Protect Your Business Against Hacking Attempts and Malware
Many small and mid-sized businesses work with important data such as clients' contact information, personal addresses, financial details, etc. Needless to say, protecting this data is paramount to ensure a trustworthy relationship with your clients.
You can do that by adopting cybersecurity measures such as adding firewalls and antivirus programs on all your computers.
A firewall monitors all the incoming and outgoing connections, allowing you to filter malware and cyber attacks. Running periodic scans on your computer systems using an updated antivirus program is also highly recommended.
Some cybersecurity applications also scan your data in real-time, preventing a potential virus from spreading to all your computers. Webroot is a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions for business, so give it a try when designing a disaster recovery and prevention plan.
Create Redundancy Solutions
Redundancy basically refers to creating additional systems and services that can quickly replace existing ones if they fail. You should take advantage of various redundancy solutions to minimize downtimes for your business. For example, some companies install additional electrical generators that can temporarily power computer systems in case of a blackout.
Similarly, you can come up with server solutions that offer additional computing power in case one of your main computer systems fails. Most redundancy solutions are affordable and they can be scaled according to the size of your business.
Take Advantage of Virtualization Services
Virtualization refers to the process of creating an exact copy of all your data and applications installed on your computers. This virtual copy of your existing software systems is stored in a remote location or the cloud.
In case of a major disaster that affects your business, you don't have to manually install applications and copy data to new servers. You simply use the virtual snapshot of your previous server systems to get back on your feet.
Train Your Personnel to Correctly Implement the Disaster Recovery Plan
Any disaster recovery plan is useless if your staff doesn't know how to put it into practice. That's why you should spend time identifying key individuals in your company who can implement your disaster recovery plan if it comes to the worst.
For example, appoint people to take care of certain computer systems and servers. Note their contact information and create a list of specific instructions to be followed.
You should also delegate a primary staff member to have executive power in case of an emergency. The leader will coordinate the disaster recovery plan, make phone calls, and take important decisions. Involving your most experienced employees is the right thing to do in such cases.
Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan and Adjust Accordingly
It's not sufficient for a disaster recovery and prevention plan to work just in theory. It also needs to work in practice.
To ensure that, make sure that you test your plan at certain intervals such as once or twice a year. Make adjustments as necessary as recovery solutions are developed and updated on a regular basis.
You should spend a decent amount of time testing your cloud backup systems because they are usually the most important. It's possible to consult with key experts to design a great testing plan without compromising the productivity in your business.
Now You Know How to Create an Intelligent Disaster Recovery Plan
Even a basic disaster recovery plan is better than no plan at all. Think about the fact that disasters can happen at any time and they might be natural or man-made. Having a backup plan will eventually ensure the continuity of your business and protect the reputation of your company.
You probably have a lot of questions regarding how to prevent disasters and recover successfully from them. That's why we invite you to contact us today!
We have over 20 years of experience designing tailored disaster recovery plans for small and medium-sized businesses. We are happy to collaborate with you as well and come up with backup solutions that fit your budget.