Your data is the most important asset your organization has. But no matter how hard you try to protect it, disasters happen. If you’re not prepared to handle these situations, you could lose more than your data – you could lose your entire business. In fact, around half of businesses never reopen after a cyberattack, so having a disaster recovery plan is critical.
The reality is disasters can be unpredictable. From natural disasters to cyberattacks, no one can predict when their business will experience an incident. That’s why it’s so important that you have a disaster recovery plan in place for the unknown. Here are five things to consider when creating an effective disaster recovery plan.
5 Things to Consider When Building Your Disaster Recovery Plan
1. Get Prepared
A great first step to a data recovery plan is to identify the assets your business uses, such as hardware and network configurations, and determine how each one is crucial to the way your business functions. If you find old files or computers that no one uses anymore, it’s time to safely move on from these things. After you create an asset breakdown list, the next step is to consider who should orchestrate your disaster recovery plan. It’s a good idea to outsource this plan to a trusted expert.
2. Focus on Prevention
In order to develop a great disaster recovery strategy, you first need to do your best to protect your infrastructure. Start with basic security tools that help protect your business, such as VPNs and firewalls. Then institute processes that strengthen security like password managers, software patching and access control to limit who can view your sensitive data. Lastly, implement cybersecurity policies and offer education training to ensure everyone is on the same page.
3. Identify the Primary Threats
Although you can’t predict every disaster, you can identify your most significant threats and develop a plan around any potential issue you could experience with this threat. After you identify the primary risks, ask yourself the following questions:
- What would the consequences be if this threat was impacted?
- Would it affect my company financially?
- Would there be legal consequences?
- Would it impact my reputation?
Once you identify the potential threats and the possible fallout; you will be able to know what’s at stake and the priority level of each threat.
4. Create a Communications Strategy
Every member of your organization has a role to play during a time of crisis. A communications strategy helps assign specific people in different departments these responsibilities. For example, who on your team will communicate actionable items to key stakeholders? Who will coordinate the recovery plan on the ground level? The last thing your team needs during a data breach or power outage is to wonder who oversees what, so you need to layout clear expectations and roles well before anything goes wrong.
5. Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan & Review the Results
After your communications strategy, there are several other action items you will need to create in your response plan. But once your disaster recovery plan is put together, it’s time to put it to the test. If you work with an IT company, we recommend having an expert in simulations test your system. This can be a great way to see how your employees would react in alternate situations. Testing your plan will show you its functionality and reveal any gaps you have. If any gaps are discovered, go back and revise any flaws to make sure your plan is strong and secure.
When you put a solid disaster recovery plan in place, you can rest knowing that your business is protected and will stay open in the event of a disaster. The best plan will ensure that your data stays protected, no matter what happens. Your business data is important, so make sure you’re doing all you can to keep it guarded.
Developing a disaster recovery plan can be extremely difficult and take time away from your priorities. Let us handle your IT needs so you can focus on what matters – your business growth. At Appalachian Network Services in North Carolina, our experts are ready to help you develop a plan to keep your business data safe and backed up.