A disaster recovery plan is a set of measures that a business puts in place before a disaster occurs, to help them cope with the situation during and after the unplanned event, to ensure continuity of the business. The range of disasters that could strike a company is quite variable. A lot of factors such as geographical location come into play when anticipating the type of disaster that could occur. Factors such as Geographical location, Equipment and machinery, and weather, most of which are uncontrollable. A good strategy to follow in coming up with disaster mitigation and prevention plan involves a risk assessment of possible dangers and categorizing them according to the probability of occurrence. Data on the probability of occurrence could be sourced from other organizations in your area or organizations that perform a similar function, as well as your organization’s previous encounters with such disasters.
- Natural calamities: These include occurrences such as floods, natural fires, hurricanes, and pandemics.
- Cyber-attacks: These are threats from hackers that try to bring down systems through the launch of DDOS attacks or gain access to sensitive company data.
- Technical failure: Sometimes equipment or machinery could break down unpredictably.
What to do:
- Establish protocols for safety and evacuation during calamities such as earthquakes, Ensure there are power backups available.
- Data should be backed up on remote servers, and critical functions should also be performed on remote servers.
- Perform system audits to check for vulnerabilities.
- Control access to sensitive company data as many breaches have been proven to originate from within.
- Regular maintenance of equipment.
- Replacement of worn out and outdated equipment.
Importance of a disaster recovery plan:
- Reduce recovery time: The time it takes for a business to cope up with the situation after a disaster has stricken is crucial as several benefits such as gaining an edge over competitors could be derived from a quick comeback.
- Reduce potential damage: After a disaster has occurred, loss or damage is inevitable. However, some measures can be put in place to reduce the potential damage that could be fatal to your business’s existence (more on measures in the section steps towards disaster recovery planning).
- Prevent legal liability: If a disaster strikes and your business fails to put appropriate measures to cater for the welfare of your employees, you could risk facing legal charges. There are also several regulations that businesses need to meet depending on their nature of the operation as stipulated by the law in most countries.
- Avoid poor decision making: Last-minute decision making is often based on impulses and could damage the company in the long run. For example, during the Corona Virus pandemic, many companies fully closed down as a result. This can be attributed to the nature of the pandemic but also many companies lacked proper protocols to mitigate the effects of such a disaster.
- Provides a sense of job security for employees: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been rendered jobless. According to The Guardian jobless people in the US alone rose by 20 million in April 2020 during the pandemic. Many organizations have tarnished their names and lost the trust of employees due to their inability to mitigate the effects of the virus, resulting in laying off employees as the only measure of cutting down costs.
- Prevent injuries or loss of lives: Disasters such as fires and earthquakes could potentially lead to loss of lives as well as severe injuries. It is, therefore, necessary to have measures in place to protect both customers and employees. The measures could vary depending on where and how your business operates. For example measures of a factory, the environment will vary from an office environment. (More on preventive measures in the section Steps towards disaster recovery and planning).
Determine a company’s weaknesses: The process of disaster recovery planning could help identify vulnerable areas in your company that could potentially be costly or may have already resulted to a certain degree of losses without your awareness a good example would be a data breach, which may go unnoticed for a long period.
Steps towards disaster recovery planning:
Detective Measures: Measures that help identify potential risks to your business. They may include conducting routine checks, installing anti-virus software, performing system audits, and educating employees on safety measures to prevent disasters.
Corrective Measures: These are measures put in place to help the business cope with the impact of disasters. They may include getting insurance policies against loss or damage
Preventive Measures: These measures help reduce the chance of the occurrence of disasters. Example of preventive measures:
- Data backup
- Fire suppression systems
- Power backup
- Frequent inspection
- Security monitoring
How to come up with a disaster recovery plan?
Due to the differences in types of organizations and how they operate, recovery plans may vary. However, there are a few steps that could be followed to come up with a suitable plan.
- Identify the main functional components of your business. These are the departments that form the lifeline of the organization.
- Calculate how long each function would take to recover, in the event of an interruption.
- Establish the protocols to be followed in getting the operations up and running.
- Alternative solutions to coming up with a disaster recovery plan
It is advisable to source for local Disaster Recovery firms as they may be well aware of the disasters that occur within your locality. A good example would be how Texas is prone to experiencing tornados. A disaster recovery company in Texas could be well suited to help you come up with a solid plan. You could also be more precise. If you are located in Houston, sourcing for a Disaster Recovery Company in Houston Texas would be a good option.