Whether it’s ransomware, a hurricane, or a freak accident, your business is bound to face a disaster at some point. So now is the time, before disaster strikes, to plan out how you can minimize your exposure and maximize your return to regular, profitable business.
Watch this 3 minute video from our CEO, Chuck Brown, to find out what constitutes a disaster, why making a disaster recovery plan is easier than you think, and how to write your plan.
You can also read a Q & A transcript of the video below and copy anything you need to help protect your business.
For additional information on this topic and to send in related questions, please click here.
Tell me about disaster recovery, what is it, what does it mean for businesses?
Disaster recovery is critical for businesses. Any event that interrupts mission-critical business functions can be called a disaster.
It could be a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, or something else like arson, theft, employee accidental or intentional destruction of data, hacking or malware.
It’s anything that interrupts your business that you didn’t plan for.
What’s the difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity?
There’s a difference between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. Disaster Recovery is focused on getting your business restored after a disaster. It’s a component of Business Continuity, which is focused on making sure your business keeps going, even during a disaster.
Many times a company can restore their information and systems from a disaster, but while that was going on, they lost so much business that the company couldn’t recover from it.
Is this just an IT thing?
This is absolutely not just an IT thing. It involves:
- your people,
- your physical building (if you have one),
- your equipment,
- your goods,
- and your processes.
- All that in addition to your data, hardware, and software.
Take a hurricane for example. Questions like what is expected of your employees, who are the key employees, how will they communicate, where will they go if they evacuate, what will you do to replace or supplement your physical assets that may be required.
If there’s specialized equipment that you need to operate, what will you do? If you have cloud facilities, will your staff have instructions how to access and will they have equipment to work from home.
You will also need to take into account some of your key vendors and advisors. Will you need support from your insurance team during the disaster? What about banking? Will you need funding to move operations while the storm is raging? Every aspect of the business needs to be considered.
So how do I get started on a disaster recovery plan?
(What areas of my business do I need to consider when making a disaster recovery plan?)
There are many ways to start a disaster recovery plan, but thinking about your employees, physical assets, technology infrastructure, communications are a great starting point.
Start simple. The more complicated you make it, the longer you’ll put it off. So go grab a pen and paper and just think and jot down some ideas first.
Imagine a hurricane is coming, and CEMA is starting to prepare us to evacuate:
- Who’s going to make the decision to close the business or not?
- When will that decision be made?
- How will it be communicated to employees?
- How will it be communicated to clients?
- What do you need to do to protect your physical location?
- If people lose Internet, do they have physical copies of information they need?
What about my systems, what costs or losses should be considered?
Make a rough list of all of the systems you use and determine how long you can be without them without significant losses.
What will being out of service cost you in sales or even in lost customers?
Do you have payroll or other obligations that have legal requirements?
What about my leadership team and business partners?
Then go on from there. Bring in your leadership team and your business partners, like IT of course, but also your legal, insurance, and financial advisors. Get advice from them. Let them tell you how you will best be protected and covered in the event of an emergency.
Ask your staff what they need to function during a disaster.
Write it down and then review it every year, if not more often. And be sure to test it. See if what you have on paper actually works when people are unable to go online and they’re worried about their own families and loved ones.
If your plan calls for steps to get back up and running within 48 hours but evacuation orders won’t let people back for 96 hours, then adjust your plan.
How do I start building a plan; do you have any helpful resources?