Tech Info

Recovering From An IT Disaster: Do You Have The Right Plan?

Monday, November 9th, 2020
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Most businesses rely on technology for everyday functionality, document security, and communication. If you experience an IT disaster, it could literally break your business. This may sound dramatic, but it’s true. You MUST have a plan to recover from an IT disaster.

The differences between business continuity and disaster recovery

Business continuity planning (BCP) and disaster recovery planning are sometimes used synonymously, but they have differences. BCP covers the entire business in the case of a disaster, whether it is natural, IT-related, or something else. IT disaster recovery planning refers specifically to issues that arise from hacking, systems going down, or anything technology related.

Who should be planning?

Before you make your plan, be sure that you include top players within your organization. These can be any IT management professionals you have on your staff as well as finance, HR, security, and vendor management. You should also include your lower-level staff when necessary to ensure they can handle whatever the recovery plan requires.

Keep your goals in mind

Before you create your IT disaster recovery plan, you need to figure out what your goals should be. They will, of course, be unique to your needs. Here are some general goals to consider while thinking about your operation.

Reducing risks

Although you will be planning for recovery, you should include risk management in your plans. Reducing the risks that can cause a disaster in the first place should always be a priority. Start by assessing your current risks and vulnerabilities. Tip: Working with an IT solutions provider will make this process easier and more comprehensive.

Maintaining operations

During an IT disaster, your business can easily come to a halt. Whether it is for hours or for days, you can’t afford to lose time and money. This is why having a plan to maintain your operations during an outage is so vital. You should be prepared to keep your main staff available to do their jobs with backup systems, for example, and a way to communicate to your clientele what is happening.

Address owner and investor concerns

When it comes to IT disaster plans, it can be easy to focus on the day-to-day activities that drive your business and security measures. Don’t forget the concerns of the owner, shareholders, directors, or investors though! These professionals may have different insights into security risks and issues that can happen during recovery.

Evaluate and update the plan regularly

The best way to do this is to work on a schedule. Evaluate your risks and procedures, and remember that technology is always changing. You never know what options might be available to help you prevent or recover from an IT disaster, so stay up-to-date on the industry as much as possible. Tip: Regularly test your team to make sure they know the plan and can respond fast enough.

A short disaster recovery plan checklist

It is true that every IT recovery plan should be different. But, just like your goals, there are some things that can be generally adapted into your plan as a foundation.

Make sure your plan is strong

In order to fight against threats to your IT systems, your plan must be strong enough to withstand any attack. Prioritize your risks and main threats in a list so that you know where to look first if something happens. For example, you may want to focus more on your server system security if you are a municipality or large corporation. Small businesses may need to prioritize controlling what websites their staff visits to prevent cyber attacks.

Work-based on in-house studies

During the planning phase, you should make sure to conduct testing. This should help you come up with concrete results on how each relevant team member and system will handle a disaster. A business impact study should also help you determine which systems are the most critical. Create a list based on all these results and use it as a baseline for your recovery.

Your plan should include tolerance information

This refers to how much downtime your business can actually handle. Once you know this information, you can set objectives and timelines in your plan to keep everyone on track. Keep in mind that this point of the plan can change as your operations, tech, and staff changes.

Include communication information

Your entire team will need to communicate during an IT disaster and you will need to be able to contact your clients and customers. Make sure your plan includes information about who is handling the disaster and who needs to be contacted. If your business is large, consider a mass notification as well as a communication tree.

List out backups

A strong IT disaster recovery plan will include backup work locations and procedures. The goal is to make sure that your team can function as if there was no disaster. Consider whether they will need to work from home (securely) or in the office, for example. Make the information simple and accessible so your team can easily find what they need.

Want to learn more about IT disaster recovery plans?

The experts at Andrews & Associates are here to help! We have over 250 years of combined experience handling all things tech and have helped businesses large and small with their IT systems. You can reach us at (806) 242-1088 to learn more about our Services.