One of the best investments that a business will ever make is putting together an effective disaster recovery plan. This is especially true for businesses that store a lot of data, and put a lot of faith in their IT department to ensure that their company continues to operate smoothly. So, what constitutes a disaster in terms of information technology? There are many different occurrences that can lead to data loss, including but not limited to things like user error, theft, natural disasters, equipment failure, and fire.
The potential for loss is huge and putting that much faith in your IT department’s ability to ensure that no data is lost is a losing battle for many companies. Most companies will experience significant data loss at some point and being prepared to deal with this data loss is a good first step. Each year in the United States alone, 15,000 hard drives fail every single day. Much of the data on these hard drives is lost and may not be recoverable.
To avoid serious data loss and financial hardship for your company, having a plan in place to mitigate the effects of the data disaster is imperative. With the disaster recovery plan, you will be able to deal with these circumstances, and have a clear plan laid out for your employees to follow so that no guess work is required regarding what steps need to be taken immediately following a data disaster, which can be a chaotic and hectic time for your IT department.
Reduce Unnecessary Risk
The first and most important aspect of an excellent disaster recovery plan is being able to reduce unnecessary risk. There is no sense in putting your company in the way of harm. There is also no way of knowing when a data disaster is about to strike. However, by identifying the potential unnecessary risks that are already in place, and taking steps to limit them, you can help to ensure that any data loss is not significant in that you are able to recover quickly and easily.
Some of the best practices for reducing unnecessary risk for your business include ensuring that you are encrypting important and sensitive data, having the proper mobile security policies in place, and educating your users on virus and malware prevention and best practices. All companies should be using an offsite cloud backup solution, preferably with military grade data encryption. Additionally, having strong user access controls and permissions can help to minimize incidences where employees purposefully harm your data, or steal it for their own purposes.
Know that Disasters are Unavoidable
One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make is assuming that they are going to be able to avoid data disasters completely, throughout the life of their business. Data disasters often strike without warning, and crucial elements of your organization may be put at risk in the process. As you are putting together your disaster recovery plan, focus on making sure that you are optimized for speed. This means that employees should have a good idea of what is expected of them in the event of the data disaster, and be able to react accordingly. Additionally, have strong testing principles in place to ensure that you can catch equipment before it inevitably fails.
Practice Makes Perfect
Another mistake that companies often make is putting together an excellent disaster recovery plan, and then never going over it with the employees that will actually be executing the plan. Occasionally, at least several times per year, you and your employees should be walking through the plan in full. Make sure that you are working with the employees that will actually be expected to handle the tasks, in the event of the data disaster.
Practice makes perfect. By walking through your data disaster recovery plan several times per year, when in actual disaster strikes your employees will be ready to execute your plan, and know the role that they play in recovering from the disaster.
Although cloud backup solutions are an excellent choice for any business that is storing a lot of data, they should be used in conjunction with in-house data backup policies. An in-house backup of your data helps to ensure that you can quickly recover the data that is important for your operations in the event of the data disaster. With online backup solutions there can be a lot of data transfer required before you have access to the files, which can slow things down. Although when online or cloud hosted solution is imperative for ensuring that you are protecting yourself, and in-house backup solution is going to provide you with the quickest disaster recovery.
Familiarize Yourself with the Technology
Your data protection policies are likely going to be handled by your IT team. However, it is a big mistake of business owners to leave their disaster recovery policies to chance. Try to familiarize yourself with the different technologies that you are using to ensure that your data is properly backed up, so that you can have insightful conversations with your IT team and other consultants during a data disaster. Having the business owner not have a full understanding of the situation is not going to help things quickly resolve themselves.
Data disasters are a serious problem for any company that stores sensitive customer data, or data that is critical to their operations. Knowing the steps that you can take to help ensure that your company is adequately protected will help to ensure a smooth data recovery operation, in the event that the unthinkable happens.