Whilst we all hope that the worst won’t happen, some events are out of our control. From natural disasters to cybercrime through to simple human error, disasters do happen. Whilst we can’t control them, as a small business you can plan for them. Actually, it is essential to your business survival that you do plan for them.
What is disaster recovery planning?
Disaster recovery is the planning that your small business can carry out to prepare for the effects of a significant negative event. It should ultimately allow you to re-establish business critical systems (typically IT systems) and get your business operating as close to normal as possible, as quickly as possible.
The key aim should be to minimise disruption to your business and therefore your customers if a disaster does strike.
Why should your business have a disaster recovery plan?
Disasters can and do strike at any time so having a plan in place makes sense. But more than that, disaster recovery plans are becoming more and more important to businesses of all sizes.
The competitive environment that businesses now operate in mean that any downtime can have a serious impact. In fact, some figures suggest that between 40% and 70% of small businesses fail to reopen after a major disaster, so the benefit of being as prepared as possible is clear.
Having a plan in place can also help with the following areas:
Minimising the risk of downtime – downtime can be devastating to any business. Downtime often means that your company is losing money, but it can also affect your reputation if you can’t deliver on your promises and result in a loss of customers
Protecting your companies’ data – never has this been more important than in the post GDPR world. Data is king, so you need to protect yourself from a major data loss and ensure your data is handled securely
The ever-present risk of cybercrime – cyber-crime comes in many shapes and forms and attacks are becoming far more frequent. Cyber-attacks such as ransomware attacks can have a significant impact on your IT systems and cause major disruption
How to create a disaster recovery plan
Good disaster recovery plans are created using the knowledge gained by carrying out an in-depth risk assessment. This will allow you to identify how a disaster could potentially impact your business and the risks you need to plan for.
Disaster recovery plans should consist of a set of procedures that map out what your business needs to do in the event of a disaster causing an outage. It should detail what employees need to do, communication required and the time frames within which key IT infrastructure need to be reinstated by.
It’s a good idea to have someone in your business who is responsible for disaster recovery planning. If you own a small or medium sized business and its not viable to have a dedicated team, elements of this can be outsourced.
Once your plan is made, it’s important that you test it – on paper it may seem that it will work effectively and smoothly but not testing means you are leaving elements to chance. Something you may regret if disaster does strike.