Hardware failure, human error, hacking or malware, natural disaster, fire – there are many things that could go wrong. Do you have a plan for getting your office up and running in case of a disaster? Do you know how you would retrieve the essential data you need?
A disaster recovery plan lists specific steps your company would take to resume operations in the aftermath of a catastrophic natural disaster or national emergency. The goal of a disaster recovery plan is business continuity, making sure that critical functions will continue to run in the event of an emergency.
An IT disaster recovery plan concentrates on restoring servers, backup of data, and re-establishing local area networks (LANs) and private branch exchanges (PBX).
Some things to think about as you develop a recovery plan:
- Make an inventory of your equipment and identify the most important systems
- Have a back up power supply to your computer system
- Identify the most serious threats to the system; fire, human error, loss of power, system failure.
- Note the most important data. Have off-site data storage, in two locations.
- Back up laptops and mobile devices to the server, then back up the server on a regular schedule
- Back up of hard copy records.
- Connectivity to a service provider (fiber, cable, wireless, etc.)
- Emergency hardware – networks, servers, desktop and laptop computers, wireless devices and peripherals
- Make sure you have copies of software applications to restore onto replacement equipment
- What people would you need to contact? Make a list of clients, projects, employees and contractors.
In the case of a natural disaster, like a flood, or a storm like Katrina, you might find it hard to contact employees or reach out to clients. It’s helpful to keep a list of names and numbers in a place you can get to easily. You might want to set up a password-protected portion of your Web site for employees to use and post to during a disaster, in case the phone systems are not working. Also, you may want to host your web site somewhere outside your local area. If you are hit by a natural disaster, the web site could still be up and running, and be a place where clients and employees could get in touch with you.
Imagine how well your business would function if you were suddenly cut off from your office and could not access your files. You cannot prevent failures of equipment, natural disasters or mistakes from happening, but you can limit the extent of the damage and make sure that your company continues to run with a disaster recovery plan.