40% of businesses close shop permanently after a disaster, and another 25 percent that does reopen, fail within a year. Without a business disaster recovery (BDR) plan, you run the risk of losing everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
Catastrophic events come in many forms ranging from earthquakes, floods, cyber-attacks, employee sabotage to workplace fires.
To mitigate the gravity of these destructive events and secure the future of your business, you need to build and strengthen your disaster recovery capabilities.
A BDR plan details how your organization will recover from a catastrophe, enabling your company to resume operations within the shortest time frame. Here’s how to create a comprehensive BDR plan.
Understand the Objectives of Disaster Recovery Planning
A comprehensive disaster recovery plan for your business offers a clear roadmap on business continuity after a disaster happens.
Focusing on protecting your business data, hardware, systems, and assets is only a significant part of your disaster planning and recovery process. That’s why you need to understand the objectives of disaster recovery planning.
Here is why it matters:
- It minimizes the disruption of your day-to-day business activities
- It ensures optimal risk awareness and security for your business
- It reduces the risk of dealing with operational delays that lead to losses
- It enables you to implement reliable business backup systems
- It provides the perfect roadmap for business recovery after a disaster
Whether you’re a business owner, IT expert, or a senior executive responsible for ensuring that your business or organization is well prepared for a disaster, your plans have to be guided by three key elements: anticipation, prevention, and mitigation.
You need to anticipate risks by planning early and developing workable measures that will help you counter potential business risks, such as cyber-attacks, employee sabotage, or data loss due to natural disasters.
Preventative steps involve taking critical steps that will help you identify potential risks and avoid them in the first place. To be successful in this, you need to do a risk assessment of your entire business operations, systems, and network infrastructure. This way, you can identify vulnerable areas and systems, and then come up with a disaster mitigation plan.
Identify Critical Assets
A business can only recover what they know is disrupted. Therefore, a disaster recovery plan should always begin with an inventory of all assets. Once done, list the critical assets that your company hugely relies on to perform its day to day activities. These assets should be unique to your business since every company operates differently.
Disaster recovery solutions experts recommend that these assets should be organized in order of priority to ensure the most critical ones are secured first. Some of the valuable assets utilized by modern businesses include servers, data, storage drives, business applications, and network connections. After classification, map the physical location of each asset.
List Possible Disasters and Action Plans
There are a variety of internal and external risks that can affect your company. These threats depend on the nature of your business and your location.
Rank the disasters that are likely to hit your business, and then narrow down to the ones that are most likely to occur. Some areas are more prone to floods, storms, and fires, while some businesses are more likely to be threatened by physical theft or cybercrime.
Next, note down the type of damage that each disaster would bring to your business in case the event occurs. You can enlist the help of employees, business partners, and other professionals when drawing up this list.
Now create an action plan for each type of possible disaster. This should include the procedures that will be followed to bring the affected part of your business back online.
Protect Your Critical Assets in Each Scenario
The perfect action plan should be capable of protecting each critical asset in every disaster scenario. There are many options available which you can utilize to secure your assets. One asset that you should prioritize is business data.
Even if your business isn’t in the IT sector, you probably have client data, financial information, or other records that are instrumental to your organization.
A data backup strategy is a must-have. You can create several copies of any critical data, store it offsite and online, and keep it up to date.
If your business’ critical assets are physical – let’s say supplies in one warehouse – consider spreading your products across two warehouses.
If your business heavily relies on electricity, consider getting a backup generator. Such moves will help your business to recover swiftly after disaster strikes.
Train Your Employees and Test Your Plan
If your employees aren’t properly trained, your BDR plan won’t be effective. Assign different responsibilities to each employee and train them on what you expect them to do. A document should be written detailing the roles of each individual and the protocols to be followed.
It should be well-communicated, easy to use and stored in an accessible place. Once done, test the entire BDR plan by simulating an emergency. This will help you to find problems, improve the plan, and quicken your response time.
Why a Disaster Recovery Plan Matters
Even after setting up everything, you and your team need to stay vigilant as anything can happen. Maybe you’re wondering whether it really matters, especially when cyberattacks have become the norm.
As experts advise, you would rather have a disaster recovery plan in place and never use than not have one and regret that you had it in the first place.
Here’s why a disaster recovery plan matters:
- It helps you avoid the dreaded downtime that leads to massive loses
- Your customers and clients expect your business systems and networks to be available and accessible even after a disaster or data loss
- Data loss and infrastructure issues are inevitable, so implementing recovery and backup plan will help you cope with potential disasters
- It’s a requirement under today’s business regulations and compliance laws
- Human error that leads to accidental data loss is a growing threat
- Natural disasters like storms and earthquakes that could affect day-to-day operations are inevitable
- Hackers are becoming more confident and will take advantage of unsuspecting businesses that haven’t protected their private data
- A disaster recovery plan encourages business continuity
- It plays a significant role in helping your business retain a good reputation even after disaster strikes
Although most disasters are unpredictable, there is a lot you can do to shield your business from the undesired effects of a catastrophe.
The best plan should cover your essential assets, anticipate every disaster scenario, and keep your employees ready.