Disaster Recovery Planning: Ensuring Business Continuity in Any Situation
For the last 22 Septembers, we in the Tri-State area have paused to commemorate the innocent lives lost on 9/11. That terror attack not only destroyed more than 3,000 lives, but it knocked Lower Manhattan out of commission for months. Businesses literally had to rise from the ashes to continue operations. While we fervently hope we never see another deliberate, violent strike against our home, we know from Superstorm Sandy and the COVID outbreak, that major disruptions to everyday life are possible and even inevitable. So, as we conclude this September, in the spirit of “never forgetting,” we want to urge you to implement an effective disaster recovery plan for your small business.
What are the major components of a small business disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan is your insurance policy against a catastrophic event, such as a fire, flood, storm, earthquake, power outage, etc., that could trigger a sudden, long-term interruption in your business operations. The plan consists of strategies designed to help your business survive and rebound quickly from any natural or man-made disaster. There are two major components to such a plan:
- Information technology recovery — Imagine that your database, where you store all your vital information, is wiped out. Gone are your client contacts, contracts, HR records, workflow reports, accounting…Everything! Your business is now blind. Even if you didn’t suffer any losses to infrastructure, devices, property, inventory, or personnel, you can’t transact business until you recover your lost data. This makes IT recovery perhaps the most vital part of a disaster recovery plan.
- Business continuity planning — This type of planning addresses a wide range of contingencies that, separately or together, could threaten your operations. In the context of a natural disaster, a fire or flood could damage a facility, forcing you to find an alternative site. You might lose inventory or materials that need to be replaced. Or, you could suddenly lose key personnel, putting the future of your organization in doubt. Thus, BCP might also include succession planning to minimize the fallout from an abrupt, forced change in leadership.
In our capacity as IT consultants, we provide advice and services related to the IT recovery. Our planning helps small businesses build network resiliency to shorten the downtime and speed recovery.
Putting together a reliable IT recovery plan
As IT consultants, we at KMF Technologies help small businesses design IT disaster recovery plans to restore crucial data and get computer networks back online as quickly as possible. Our three-step process includes:
- Planning — When it comes to data recovery, the key factors are resiliency and redundancy. We help clients identify the points of vulnerability in their network and suggest ways to improve survivability, such as scheduled upgrades in equipment to protect against power surges and relocating servers to less vulnerable sites. We help our clients prioritize tasks performed on the network to ensure that critical tasks get the greatest attention. We also recommend ways to back up data securely offsite, so if one set of servers is lost, the data are still intact, stored somewhere else for easy recovery.
- Implementation — We work with management to ensure the plan is realized through infrastructure updates, employee training, and the acquisition of reliable, offsite data storage.
- Maintenance — Unfortunately, IT recovery planning does not allow a company to “set it and forget it.” After a business implements a recovery plan, vulnerabilities can arise for a variety of reasons, such as equipment aging out, software needing updates, and changes in usage patterns. As a provider of managed IT services, we oversee our clients’ networks and intervene whenever we detect issues that could lead to data loss or compromise data recovery.
Your computer network is the nerve center of your business. Thus, a failure here will paralyze operations for as long as it takes to restore the data and network functions. At KMF, we believe it’s important to have an effective plan, implement that plan thoroughly and professionally, and remain vigilant as to how the plan is functioning. We never drop our guard, so in the worst-case scenario, your company will have the resources necessary to overcome what could have been a catastrophic interruption.