Data management is a crucial element of your small business’ reputation. If data disasters strike and you lose access or control of your business’ data, you may lose the trust of your clients and customers. According to recent studies, 93% of companies are out of business within one year after a major data disaster. Additionally, 68% of businesses don’t have a plan for worst-case scenario data breaches.
It is paramount to formulate a strategy for combating data disasters. The Technology Services Team at Anderson ZurMuehlen recommends taking the following steps to ensure you have an effective data disaster recovery plan in place.
Step 1: Know the Differences Between a Disaster Recovery Plan and a Business Continuity Plan
While business continuity plans are proactive, disaster recovery plans are reactive. More specifically, a business continuity plan is a strategy by which a business ensures that, no matter what disaster befalls it, it can continue to operate and provide products and services to its customers. A disaster recovery plan is a strategy by which businesses can backup and recover critical data should it get lost or held for ransom.
Step 2: Gather Information and Support
A successful disaster recovery plan starts with executive buy-in. Everyone, from the CEO to the entry-level employees, must participate in executing the disaster plan in case your company suffers a data disaster. Company-wide awareness allows for cross-functional collaboration in the creation process – a necessary step to prevent breaches in all parts of your systems.
Businesses must account for all elements in their technology systems when they’re putting together their disaster recovery plan. Be sure to account for any issues involving the physical security of your servers as well as physical access to your systems. An internal audit allows businesses to discover which processes are absolutely necessary during a worst-case scenario.
Step 3: Create Your Strategy
When your business team is on board and understands business vulnerabilities, begin to build your disaster recovery strategy. In order to build the strongest strategy, consider the following:
- Disaster Recovery Plan Budget
- Company Resources
- Available Tools
- Business Partners
- Disaster Recovery Timeline
Small businesses may want to consider their budget and timeline first. In these instances, planning for communication is key. Consider drafting emails, voicemail messages, and written communication to alert customers to what they can expect while you get your business back up to full operating capacity.
Step 4: Test the Plan
After completing the first two steps, test your disaster recovery plan. Run through the steps with your employees to help familiarize them with the steps they’ll need to take in the event of a real emergency. This process will help you detect any areas of your plan that need improvement. When an actual data disaster befalls your business, your systems and employees will easily know what actions to take.
To review, these are the quick actions that you and your employees will need to take in order to make a successful, robust disaster recovery plan:
- Obtain executive buy-in for your plan.
- Research and analyze the different systems in your business to understand how they could be impacted.
- Prioritize systems that are absolutely necessary to the functioning of your business.
- Test your disaster recovery plan to evaluate its effectiveness.
Complete these steps, and you can ensure your business will be prepared for any data disaster that comes your way. If you have any questions regarding disaster recovery plans, the Anderson ZurMuehlen Technology Services Team is available to you.