With each year, technology plays a bigger and bigger role in the daily operations of all businesses, regardless of a business’s industry or structure. Our dependence on technology is not necessarily a bad thing. Technology creates consistency and visibility and speeds up processes. However, it can also expose businesses to more risks, especially when those risks have not been identified and if no plan has been put in place to address these risks should they occur. And unfortunately, no business is resistant to these damages, no matter how long they’ve been in business. This is where the importance of having an IT disaster recovery plan really becomes clear.
When many people think of an IT disaster event, they think of cyber attacks. Although this is a major risk that is covered in an IT disaster recovery plan, an IT disaster event can come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and scenarios. It might look like a natural disaster that causes a short in the technologies or that causes water damage or other damages to electronics. It might look like a hardware failure due to improper use or human error. Or it could look like a major data loss. This variety of issues makes it important for businesses to plan ahead so that, should one of these risks occur, proper steps can be taken to limit or prevent damages.
For example, if your business is located in an area that is prone to certain natural disasters that could have a very damaging impact on the business, it would be important to identify this is a risk, determine ways to reduce the effects of this risk, and then document how to respond should an event occur. You might determine that a way to reduce IT damage risks is for your business to ensure backup servers are located at a distance of 50 miles. This would help ensure that the backups are close enough to reach quickly if needed, while also being far enough away that they should be relatively safe should a natural disaster occur.
It is highly important to realize that, though technology can create consistency and clarity, it is also not perfect. And neither are the people using them. Sometimes even following procedures and processes perfectly can still result in data losses, incorrect data, or system failures. These types of issues are very common for all businesses, and although they are typically unexpected, the business can quickly and effectively respond in a way that reduces risks if they are properly planned for and outlined.
Cybercrimes are also an enormous risk. A virus or ransomware attack could steal or hold your data hostage, forcing your business into an immediate stop, and causing significant damages to both your customers and your business. By properly planning and training employees on how to recognize potential IT disaster events and what to do if they suspect that the business may be in danger of an event, the business will be in a better position to resolve these risks before they cause major damages to the business.
The number one reason to have an IT disaster recovery plan in place is that it could literally save your business’s life—in more ways than one.
Major data losses can destroy the relationship and trust you have built with customers. Your customers are the lifeline of your business. And keeping your current customers satisfied is the cheapest way to stay in business. They are your gateway into customer referrals and repeat business. Plus, acquiring new customers is a much more expensive process.
Additionally, reductions in service or long downtimes can result in the loss of customers. Customers are no longer brand loyal based solely on brand name. Customers need good prices, good service, and good experiences. When your business is unable to meet these needs, your customers will almost immediately start looking for other providers.
If you are ready to get started on creating your business’s IT disaster recovery plan, here is a brief overview of the steps you can expect to take:
- Audit all IT resources.
- Determine which processes and data are business critical.
- Establish roles and responsibilities for every employee.
- Determine recovery goals.
- Select a remote data storage solution.
- Create a test plan and adjust as needed.
By creating an IT disaster recovery plan and testing it consistently, you will ensure that your business can not only identify risks but also effectively respond to them and keep your business running as efficiently as possible in the face of any risk that may occur.