If you’re a consultant graphics designer or photographer, you need to make sure that your work portfolio is secured. You have everything stored in your reliable MacBook Pro. For added security, you can also hire the best online backup provider for small businesses to have all your data in the cloud. A training consultant or a freelance CAD designer would probably do the same.
If you’re managing a small company handling lots of data representing hundreds or thousands of clients, having duplicate data in the cloud is a good practice. But you need to do more. When the worst thing happens, your operations should continue to run without the clients knowing that you’re attending to problems or issues.
Just imagine a power outage happening in a building where there’s a large insurance company. Sales agents from around the country typically submit new policies online every hour to meet sales quotas. A procedure must be in place, allowing sales agents to continue to transact despite the power outage.
This procedure is known as a disaster recovery plan (DRP). If your team and customers rely on continuous service despite interruptions caused by disasters that affect your service delivery, you need to have a DRP in place.
An Overview of Disaster Recovery
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that earthquake alone costs America nearly $4.4 billion a year. During disasters, the longer companies stay offline, the more it costs the company and the economy. The essence, therefore, of disaster recovery is the immediate restoration of IT facilities and operations following a disaster.
Two key concepts in DRP are recovery time objective or RTO and recovery point objective or RPO. RTO pertains to how fast the data restoration process will take. RPO means how long you will remain down or without service (because you’re still in the process of restoring your data). Identifying your RTO and RPO are going to be the basis of your DRP.
If your company is based in Chicago, the chances of your facility being hit by a hurricane are very low. You might need to prepare for extreme winter conditions, though. You need to make a clear assessment of the most severe threats to your IT infrastructure. Knowing the risks makes identifying the steps for recovery easier.
Know Your Assets
Take stock of what you have, such as servers, software solutions, network hardware and appliance, and all your data. You must have a complete inventory of all these items and memorize how they depend on each other and other resources (e.g., subscription to Internet services).
Critical Systems and Tools
In the insurance company example, the system handling policy submission and underwriting systems are crucial. Media companies, hospitals, and other facilities have different critical systems. Stakeholders from each department must identify which methods are crucial.
You need to look for a partner company that can comply not only with your backup needs but your need for full and seamless restoration, which will have your company back online and in service in the soonest possible time.
Lastly, once you’re done with all the preparation, you need to perform a test. Typically, the testing is done in a facility away from your place of operation. Testing your DRP twice a year is a good business practice because you never know when the next disaster will hit.