Is your business ready for a disaster?
It seems like there is always a story in the news of some natural disaster – tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires. It makes me wonder: “Is there really any place that is safe, or immune from such calamity?” Of course, the answer is no. Therefore, this would be a great time for you to fine tune or implement a disaster recovery and business continuity plan for your business.
Disaster recovery is being able to continue your business critical functions after an unforeseen interruption. It is easy to see how something “big” like the disasters mentioned above can severely impact your business. But what about more common “disasters” such as a power outage, internet going down, a server malfunctioning or simply unplugging a piece of equipment accidentally? Ideally, your business continuity plan will allow you to recover your programs and data to a point very close to when the disaster occurred.
When putting together a disaster recovery plan, many factors need to be considered. First and foremost is your data. Ask yourself, “How is my data being backed up? How would I get to that data in the event of a disaster?” A common mistake most people make is to faithfully do a backup of their data, and then leave the backup media (disk, flash drive, tape, etc.) in the same building – or even the same room – as their computer systems or servers. If the building were to burn down, your backup would go with it and you would be left with nothing to recover from.
One way to begin developing a business continuity plan is to define the word “disaster” in the context of your business. Ask yourself “What level of interruption do I need to protect my business from? Can I afford to be down (without computer system, programs, data for example) for 1 day, 1 week, 1 hour? How long can I afford to be without power, telephones or internet access?” Answering these questions will help to give some shape to your plan. If you can afford to be down for a week, then you will not need as much in the way of redundant systems and infrastructure which will save on up front and ongoing costs. However, if you really cannot afford to be down for more than a few hours, a more comprehensive plan will need to be developed. This may include redundant hardware and telecom circuits, standby or backup servers, off site backups, and perhaps moving towards cloud (internet hosted) services for some of your mission critical applications.
As your trusted technology advisors, we are here to help you navigate the development, implementation, and ongoing testing of a business continuity solution. If you have any doubts about your emergency plan, it would be our privilege to work with you in developing a solution that brings you security and peace of mind.