Most business owners love the thought of business as usual. Doing the same things every day might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s often better than firefighting.
The businesses they own often already have a disaster recovery plan in place. However, there are rarely concerns surrounding a business’s ability to recover from disasters. Instead, where most disaster recovery plans fail is the disaster they plan to recover from.
Many different significant issues may befall businesses of all sizes. There are, of course, natural disasters that can affect data, hardware, and the company itself. There are also security concerns, particularly when it comes to the online presence.
The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan
The whole point of a disaster recovery plan is to return to the idyllic setting of business as usual as quickly as possible when the worst happens.
Depending on where a business is, it faces different challenges. For example, some companies are at risk of hurricanes, even if they affect their suppliers and partners more than the business itself. Others might be prone to flooding, which is never good news when most offices are packed with electrical equipment.
There are more threats to contend with than just Mother Nature too. The hot topic on everyone’s lips lately is cybersecurity. The internet has brought unfathomable benefits to businesses around the world. Companies can communicate with anyone in the world in seconds. Stores remain open around the clock, as computers handle the orders.
Connectivity brings exposure. Any solvent business has precisely what potential attackers are looking for – money and data. A new cyberattack is launched every 39 seconds. As successful recent attacks on the likes of Amazon and Adobe would indicate, size doesn’t matter. Even with massive resources, it’s impossible to become immune to being compromised.
Prevention is always better than cure, but when attacks can happen at any moment, it’s worth putting time and effort into understanding what you’ll do in the event of a successful cyber breach.
Corporate disasters are no longer down to power outages and natural causes. In a world where every business could be the perfect target, it’s crucial to have a great idea of what to do when one of these attacks happens.
How to Get Started on Creating Your Action Plan
A typical disaster involves data loss, enhanced communication both inside and outside the business, and potentially even relocating, at least temporarily. Of course, there’s much to consider. Every business is different, but some simple steps apply to every company that wants to account for every possibility.
Focus on Business-Critical Data
Virtually every company in modern times is in the data business. From customer details to invoices and accounts, data loss can represent the biggest obstacle to returning to normality.
Whether it’s a flood in the server room or a cyberattack, data is easier to lose than it is to gain.
At this point, backups are not only your friend but practically essential for recovering from significant issues. No owner needs long to determine what data they couldn’t do without, and that’s precisely where your focus should lie.
Many of the services you already use should include backups by default. For example, if you use an external website provider, they should have another copy of your website on hand if it goes down and can’t be recovered. The same applies to accountants. However, some data, such as customer records, employee information, and policy documents, are unique to your business.
This data should not only be backed up regularly but stored in such a way that whether online or natural forces cause a disaster, it’s retrievable.
Have Alternative Locations in Mind
Recent events have made remote work more popular than ever. The chances are that your business has adapted to this modified way of working already. However, the importance of a central location shouldn’t be underestimated, even if its only role is as a meeting point for senior staff.
If your office floods or your IT systems are compromised, it makes sense to have an alternative location in mind. It doesn’t need everything your main base of operations has, but it should provide the necessary equipment and connectivity to continue your business as usual.
Consider Who You Need to Talk To
Whether you own a business or you’re an employee, in the event of a disaster, it’s important not to try to handle it alone. Disaster recovery plans should include a list of people to communicate with in the event of issues.
Those lists most commonly include clients with upcoming deadlines, customers expecting a delivery, suppliers awaiting instructions, and other members of the internal senior team. Communication is always a critical part of operations, and that doesn’t change when disaster strikes.
Few business owners want to contemplate how they might respond in the event of a disaster, but even the most prominent companies aren’t infallible. Things can go wrong every day, but they don’t often qualify as disasters.
Some companies are fortunate enough never to experience cyberattacks and natural disasters. Of those that do, the ones that survive and thrive are the ones that have plans in place to take account of every potential problem.
A robust plan can see a business through the most challenging times, whether that involves cybersecurity or anything else. In the best-case scenario, planning for the worst is unnecessary. However, if the worst does happen, that plan could be the difference between continuing business as usual and catastrophic failure.