It isn’t a question of what to do IF a disaster happens. It is a question of what to do WHEN a disaster happens. At some point, every company will be impacted by unforeseen events. These could be anything from power outages or workplace violence to major weather events or natural disasters. Leaders must be able to manage through the chaos. They have to keep operations running smoothly or restore them with minimal delay. Disaster recovery plans dramatically increase the probability of the leading a business successfully through challenges.
Elements of a Good Disaster Recovery Plan – Data
A thorough risk analysis should be performed first and foremost. It will provide the detail needed to tailor a comprehensive data recuperation plan to a specific business. Here are several general points that should always be applied to any solid recovery plan.
Data Preservation: When networks fail, critical data can become corrupted or lost entirely. Preserving this information is the single most important component of any recovery strategy. Loss of data can lead to loss of revenue or customers. In the worst case scenario, it could put a company out of business altogether. All data must be backed up on a regular basis to minimize time spent recreating recent files. Small businesses are encouraged to back up data at least once daily. Large corporations may have to do so more frequently as they have more information on the line.
Rapid Detection: The sooner the disaster recovery plan is activated, the faster business can be restored to full operation. Many interruptions in service are obvious, but some are so subtle they can go undetected for days. The incorporation of diagnostic tools into systems can alert staff to issues right away.
Secondary Location: Housing data off-site keeps it secure if the primary location is damaged. Data centers offer services from housing and managing entire IT infrastructure to providing back-up for data. These centers can restore data quickly through highly trained staff. In addition, employees are able to work from many data centers if their home office becomes too damaged to use. The entire workforce can relocate to these centers until repairs are made or a new premises secured.
Redundant Services: All critical services must have built-in redundancies. This helps them avoid interruptions from basic power outages or similar situations. Alternate methods of communication for loss of telephones and email servers ensure customers aren’t adversely impacted by issues with services.
Elements of a Good Disaster Recovery Plan – Personnel
Key Personnel: The best disaster strategies will fail if key personnel are unavailable to perform their roles. Without personnel who are familiar with the demands of the disaster recovery plan, restoring full operations is a far lengthier process. Leadership, failure recovery managers and IT staff are all key personnel who should be part of a recovery team. Alternative team members should also be in place in case certain members can’t complete their tasks.
Staff Preparation: Regardless of the tasks assigned in a disaster recovery plan, every employee in the business plays a role in complete recovery. Staff members must be trained on the plan, as well as their responsibilities in case of an emergency. Many issues arise when employees fail to take catastrophe recovery seriously. They might gloss over training or fail to update the plan as needed as they believe that disaster is too unlikely. Changing this element of company culture makes a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of any disaster recovery plan.
Leaders who successfully manage through disaster chaos and quickly restore the business to order are those who planned ahead. Completing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan has the potential to make or break a career.