How to Implement a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster often strikes when it’s least suspected. You may not think your small business needs to be prepared for disruption, but almost two-thirds of businesses struck by disaster fold within a year.

A disaster recovery plan for a small business is an essential tool to help you navigate uncertain waters and rebound after the unthinkable. Unfortunately, not every organization has one in place—or if they do, it’s not been thoroughly tested. In these scenarios, a disaster can result in days or weeks of downtime.

Businesses today need a disaster recovery plan—one that has a detailed strategy to recover data and other IT assets. Here’s what you need to know about implementing a disaster recovery plan.

What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan? And Why Do You Need One?

A disaster recovery plan, or DRP, is a detailed, documented strategy to help your organization recover and resume operations after an unexpected outage.

In the digital age, a stable IT infrastructure is crucial to powering an organization. That said, it’s nearly impossible to ensure your network remains up and running 100 percent of the time. In fact, 80 percent of all organizations deal with some kind of outage each year. And with most outages resulting in over $100,000 in losses due to downtime and data loss, it’s important to know what to do when something goes wrong.

A disaster recovery plan policy provides a path to restore your system quickly so your team can pick back up with mission-critical functions.

In turn, a thorough plan should account for incidents, such as:

  • Application failures
  • Power outages
  • Natural disasters like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods
  • Cyber attacks and data breaches
  • Data center disasters
  • Damage or disaster within your organization’s building
  • Local, citywide, or regional disasters
  • National or multinational disasters

Crafting a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

When it comes to a well-crafted disaster recovery plan for IT stability, it should be accessible, clear, and easy to follow.

As you create your plan, you’ll want to consider recovery goals, including maximum downtime and data loss, as well as how long recovery should take. Other elements to consider include:

  • Backup procedures
  • Each team member’s responsibilities
  • A complete inventoried list of your software and hardware
  • Disaster recovery site locations
  • Procedures for disaster recovery and restoration
  • Testing protocols for your DRP to ensure it makes sense

So, what are the steps for creating and implementing a successful small business disaster recovery plan?

  1. Conduct an Audit of Your IT Resources: Make a complete list of all the IT resources needed for the normal operation of your organization, as well as the impact these resources have on your company.
  2. Pinpoint Which Operations You Need to Protect: Determine which IT solutions and operations need to be protected when disaster strikes, including hardware, software, network equipment, and data.
  3. Document Potential Industry-Related Disruptions: Each industry has its own unique vulnerabilities and potential areas for disruption. Compile a full list of these potential issues.
  4. Determine Who Does What: Establish which team members are responsible for addressing each particular area and how your organization should respond, including lines of communication.
  5. Set Your Recovery Goals: How much downtime is feasible—is it a matter of minutes, hours, or days? How much data can you afford to lose, and what amount of transaction data is expendable? This information becomes your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and your Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
  6. Establish Your Priorities: What data do you need to be operational again after a disaster? Data needed for eCommerce platforms, incoming or outgoing payments, or anything related to meeting regulatory compliance standards should take precedence to minimize disruption. Once you prioritize data, you can determine the frequency of backups.
  7. Set Up Remote Data Storage: In the event of a disaster that damages your physical location, you will need a remote backup to restore data that would otherwise be lost. You may opt for cloud-based storage that automatically downloads data every few hours or days. Keep in mind that backups at a remote location are easier to isolate and are more likely to stay protected from malware corruption, breach, or data theft.
  8. Test Your Plan: Make sure your plan works. This means testing your disaster recovery plan to account for both single and multiple points of failure. Putting these plans into action in a variety of different scenarios will help you build an even more robust DRP.

Intuitive, Comprehensive IT Strategy When You Need It Most

Because it’s impossible to know when disaster will strike, it’s important to incorporate a strong digital infrastructure and recovery plan into your IT strategy.

Organizations use Rocket IT’s Ideal IT solution to proactively protect their data and test crisis plans to limit downtime caused by potential disruptions.

Think a disaster recovery plan could help you rest easier? Schedule a call to learn more about Ideal IT today!

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