Is disaster recovery planning necessary for small businesses?

The short answer is yes. The Small Business Administration has reported that most small businesses don’t have disaster recovery plans in place for when their IT systems fail. Of the businesses that do have procedures in place, around 25% haven’t tested their recovery systems.

The repercussions for having non-tested disaster recovery plans (or no plans at all) can be catastrophic. The consequences can be so adverse that many businesses are potentially one power surge or data breach away from bankruptcy.

In this post, we’ll discuss what makes a good disaster recovery plan and how Vigilant’s services can help keep your small business IT systems intact.

6 Steps in a Good Disaster Recovery Plan

No matter how much you prepare, it’s virtually impossible to be 100% immune to physical or digital disasters that might affect your information technology and related devices. To reduce the fallout of such disasters, recovery and business continuity plans are paramount.

Computer World has compiled the main characteristics of a good disaster recovery plan. We’ve pulled out the most salient points related to our disaster recovery services and the efforts every small business should make to stay ahead of IT failures.

1. Take stock of your hardware and software and their respective vulnerabilities

To create a robust disaster recovery plan, you need to get the lay of the land regarding the hardware and software you use. Your managed IT provider can complete an inventory with you to identify what technology you have that might be vulnerable to different kinds of disasters.

For example, your cloud storage system could fall prey to some kind of cyber-attack, and your employees’ desktops are vulnerable to physical damage. Both of these disasters can have severe fallout but require different recovery approaches.

2. Define what successful disaster recovery looks like

With our help, we can calculate your threshold for acceptable system downtime or data loss: these are typically referred to as Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).

By coming up with specific reference points and metrics, you can prioritize the importance of individual applications and hardware and determine what successful disaster recovery looks like for your business.

3. Clarify key personnel and their roles in the recovery plan

All disaster recovery plans should define the key personnel and their responsibilities to execute the plan successfully.

Everyone from the C-suite down will likely have some part to play in the plan, so it’s vital to lay it out clearly and ensure everyone understands a) their responsibilities and b) at what stage of the plan they need to carry out those responsibilities.

4. Create a communication plan

You can’t overlook a communications plan during a disaster. You need to leverage multiple communication channels to inform your employees about the disruptions. Remember that some disasters will affect your ability to use your telecommunication networks, so you always need a backup.

It’s also important to have some kind of boilerplate statement that you can publish on your website, in a mass email, and on social media to notify employees and relevant stakeholders of the disaster and the next steps they can expect to take.

5. Have emergency location protocols for employees

Whether the disaster is physical (e.g., a power surge) or digital (e.g., a ransomware attack), you need to have contingencies in place for your employees.

Having a backup worksite or work-from-home protocols in place will reduce the amount of time employees’ work is stalled. Everyone should be aware of where they should go to continue working and how or when they can access these backup systems or networks.

6. Run disaster drills

Testing any system is integral to its success, and that includes disaster recovery plans. Think of it like a regular fire drill for your IT systems.

Many things can affect your disaster recovery’s success, including slow internet connections, hardware failures, and even logistical errors like not having the right contact information for key people in the recovery process. By running regular drills, you can identify and eliminate any red flags before they become a problem.

Vigilant’s disaster recovery services

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reports that around 75% of small businesses that suffer significant data losses go out of business within the following year. The alarming rate of these small business closures is mostly a by-product of poor IT infrastructure, i.e., companies storing all their critical data on one central server instead of following the 3-2-1 rule.

When you lose access to your business or your data, you need three things to recover completely:

  1. Restore communications
  2. Regain access to your data or restore a backup
  3. Execute your disaster recovery plan

We offer simple, complete disaster recovery solutions like business continuity hosting for as little as $3 per day that can accomplish the three goals listed above relatively quickly.

By engaging with us, we can also put together a disaster recovery plan that suits your business needs. Together, we can reduce your system downtime from hours to minutes.

Learn more about how our disaster recovery services can help keep your business operations running smoothly.

Topics: Business continuity