As the old adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. When it comes to technology, there’s a great deal at stake. Get disaster recovery wrong, and there’s a high chance of your business closing its doors for good in the event of a catastrophe. Get it right though, and you can generally expect to get by with minimal disruption. In fact, with cloud technologies on your side, it’s now possible to future-proof everyday business operations in preparation for almost any eventuality. Here are five tips to help make sure you get it right:
#1. Clarify employee responsibilities
Disaster recovery is about more than just technology. To minimize downtime or mitigate the effects of data loss or theft, it’s imperative that everyone on your team is aware of their responsibilities. Your plan should identify the key personnel who will make up your disaster-response team. More often than not, this is something many smaller organizations outsource to a managed services provider. You should have extra members on your team so there’s always someone available to step in.
#2. Determine your recovery goals
IT downtime presents one of the biggest threats to the profitability of your business and the productivity of your employees. That’s why you need to determine how much you can afford to lose and the maximum amount of time it should take to get critical operations back up and running. These parameters are stipulated by your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO), respectively. You should assign different recovery goals to each system depending on how important they are to your business.
#3. Document everything
Disaster recovery planning is only effective if it’s thoroughly documented. To avoid confusion and clarify your team’s responsibilities, your plan should include a step-by-step manual. If not, your key personnel will find themselves under unnecessary extra pressure as they struggle to get your systems back online. That’s a situation that can lead to costly human error and result in the business ending up in a worse place than before. Always keep the documentation concise, and be sure to provide all necessary contact information for any key personnel it identifies.
#4. Update, test, and repeat
If your disaster recovery plan isn’t up to date and/or hasn’t been tested, then you might as well not have one at all. Aside from annual evaluations, you should also update your plan whenever you make any significant changes to your technology, operational infrastructure, or personnel. Every iteration of every plan should also be thoroughly tested to give you the chance to include any necessary contingencies. After all, getting everything back up and running is rarely as simple as you’d like.
#5. Incorporate virtualization
Virtualization refers to the creation of virtual, rather than actual, computing resources that run on top of the underlying hardware through a customized software layer. In the age of the cloud, this effectively means having a software-defined IT environment that you can relocate, access, and customize as though it were a software application.
What this means from a backup and disaster recovery standpoint is that it lets you easily back up your systems and ensure all mission-critical resources are readily available over the internet. That way, your employees will even be able to continue working as normal from home or elsewhere even if your primary workspace is rendered inoperable.
PC LAN Techs provides business continuity planning for organizations based in Palm Beach County and throughout South Florida. Call us today to successfully withstand any catastrophe.
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