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Where To Start With Basic Disaster Recovery Planning

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Disasters (both natural and man made) can be unpredictable at best and unavoidable at worst. Over time the chances of an organization facing at least one catastrophic crisis approaches 100%, with planning being the determining factor in how your business weathers the storm. If you don’t have your information backed up in a secure location, even the smallest of internal issues can turn into one of these large scale disasters. According to a study by the Strategic Research Corporation on the leading causes of incidents, they found that:

  • 44% were caused by hardware failures (servers, switches, disk drives)
  • 32% resulted from human error (wrong commands entered, failure to notice problems)
  • 14% started as software issues (code malfunctions, operating systems)
  • 7% could be traced to viruses and security breaches
  • 3% were complications from various natural disasters

However, all hope is not lost when it comes to dealing with these situations. Having an thoroughly prepared disaster recovery plan can lessen or negate the impact they can have on your business, saving time and money during the critical time period. Here are four tips when it comes to creating or improving your plan, as well as a handy evaluation checklist:

1) List potential risks – This may sound overwhelming, but creating an index of all the possible things that can go wrong helps you in the long run. Only you know your business’s unique set up and geographical area, allowing for a custom plan to handle potential issues. Listing each risk by potential impact can help prioritize what would affect your day to day operations, with mission critical issues coming first. If you need help assessing your organization’s current records plan, The Data Vault has prepared a records management evaluation form you can use to get the ball rolling.

2) Rank potential data loss situations – Deciding how likely each item on your list is to occur is an essential step in the process. Focusing your planning on what is most likely to occur will help you consider the most common situations, ensuring you will be ready if and when they show up.

3) Developing your disaster recovery plan – Once you have identified the risks to your business, now is the part where you decide how to handle them. Questions such as “How long can I go without this information?” and “What parts of our operation are affected?” should be asked with each specific instance, as well as ways to reduce the impact. At this point in the planning process considerations for off site backup and storage should be discussed, as well as security certifications.

4) Test your plan! – You would be amazed at how many organizations develop disaster recovery plans with full scenarios and never actually test them to see if they work. Scheduling a full systems test at least once a year can help evaluate the effectiveness of your plan and determine whether it needs updates, saving headache during an actual incident.

For over 30 years here at The Data Vault we’ve been helping organizations with their disaster recovery planning. By providing flexible secure backups and consulting services, we’re here every step of the way. If you have any questions about your current plan or would like an outside, objective evaluation free of bias please contact us and one of our experts will be in touch!

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