Tips for a Disaster Recovery Plan That Will Actually Work

Very few business owners would dispute the wisdom behind having a Disaster Recovery plan.  This doesn’t stop many (if not most) businesses from having an outdated,  Disaster Recovery Planineffective, incomplete or untested plan.

One reason for this is, like insurance, folks like the peace of mind knowing they have a Disaster Recovery plan, but they never really expect to use it.  As a result the plans are frequently slipshod in design, and execution.    A Disaster Recovery plan should have these elements, at a minimum:

Data and Image Backup
• Back up images AND data (without your line-of-business applications, data alone won’t get your business up and running quickly after a disaster.
• Store backups onsite AND offsite – local backups are great for quick recovery from minor issues, and offsite (preferably automated) will ensure that the disaster that affects your office won’t also affect your backed up data and images.
• Perform frequent and regular test restores of backed up data.  If you think a disaster feels bad – discovering your backed up data is corrupt is insult upon injury.

Communications Considerations
• Have a plan to notify employees how, when, and where they can work if something happens to your facility.
• Have a plan to notify suppliers if a disaster affects your place of business.  Alternate contact info, and expected duration of downtime will help your supply chains adapt to your circumstances after a disaster.
• Have a plan to notify clients if a disaster affects your business.  They will need to know how fast you will be able to resume operations.  Lack of communication along these lines will cause them to assume your business is in dire straits and may cause them to take their business elsewhere.

Drilling and Testing
• Test backups and conduct drills frequently, and ensure you can restore a downed server from your data and image backups.
• Document procedures for conducting all the phases of your Disaster Recovery, and have that documentation in the hands of your key personnel.
• Don’t assume your IT person will be available after a disaster  -  make sure more than one person knows how to restore your systems.
• Store important information offsite – a list of phone numbers to call after a fire, won’t do any good if it burns up in the fire.
• Update the plan at least annually.  Personnel change, phone numbers change, suppliers change and technology changes.  A Disaster Recovery plan that hasn’t been changed in 2 years may be nearly useless if a disaster strikes.

You will still hope to never need to use your Disaster Recovery plan, of course, but when you need it, your business will need to be able to resume operations as soon as possible.  Clare Computer Solutions offers Disaster Recovery Plan Assessment – contact us now, and rest easy knowing you have a workable plan in place to keep your business running – no matter what!

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