5 Processes For Improving Your Disaster Recovery PlanFor many small businesses, disaster recovery seems like a big scary mess. If you’re fuzzy on how your business would restore operations after a disaster, it’s time to take action, whether you’re starting from scratch or improving a plan that hasn’t been updated in a while. The good news is that new cloud-based tools such as automatic online data backup are helping to make disaster recovery planning a do-it-yourself project.
An article on SearchDisasterRecovery.com, an online resource for IT professionals, breaks disaster recovery into five processes and provides templates to help you get started.
- Make the business case for your plan: Depending on your business, disaster recovery can be inexpensive or require a significant investment. A good first step is to ask if your insurance coverage is adequate. Then, try to look beyond risk reduction to any additional benefits planning ahead will bring, such as cost containment and improved productivity.
- Conduct a risk assessment: Take an inventory of possible risks. They could be anything from natural disasters and power outages to hardware failure. By assessing each risk’s likelihood and consequences, you’ll gain a concrete understanding of each situation’s severity. For a small business, data is one of your most important assets, so make sure you assess all potential risks of data loss.
- Conduct a business impact analysis: After identifying the business’ mission-critical functions, how would losing those functions affect your company? A critical factor many small businesses overlook is their supply chain. What’s your fallback when one of your suppliers gets disrupted?If you can’t answer, spend some time investigating these issues and put together a list of alternate suppliers you could work with if your primary suppliers aren’t available.
- Build your disaster response plan: The goal is to develop step-by-step procedures to return your business to normal operations after a disruption. You want to identify which operations take priority. Be sure to note any critical software, data and networks they require. What’s your plan to get these functions back in case your tools are damaged or lost? Include an emergency communication plan, especially if you’re a distributed small business.
- Tailor your plan to your needs: An effective disaster plan focuses on what’s most important to your business, your partners and your clients. Keep this larger perspective in mind as you refine procedures.
As you choose technology solutions, it’s important to understand the difference between automatic data backup, syncing and storage, and what you need from a disaster preparedness standpoint. Dropbox, for example, is a wonderful data syncing tool, but it’s not a disaster preparedness tool like Carbonite’s automatic offsite backup service.
Carbonite offers an easy setup that requires only a few clicks; an automatic backup solution that backs up changes quickly as users are working; and peace of mind that the data can be accessed at any time and is kept safe and private.
Each of these five processes can help your small business in creating or improving disaster response plans. The greatest impact you can make, however, is getting started today.
What are you doing to safeguard your data? How much time do you spend on disaster recovery plans?
Source: SearchDisasterRecovery.com, Januay 2013
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