Disaster Recovery is a vital part of any Business Continuity Plan. So much so that nearly 95% of companies that experience data loss or downtime for 10 days or more will file for bankruptcy within 12 months and 43% of businesses without a disaster recovery plan will go out of business in the wake of a major data loss, according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

Having an effective and tested Disaster Recovery Plan is mission critical to any business. What would happen to your business if you experienced an unplanned outage affecting your systems and processes or if you experienced a major data loss for an extended period? Most businesses rely on documents, applications, systems, and stored data to operate properly and meet their customers’ needs.

Imagine what would happen if your website went down, your phone lines weren’t accepting incoming calls or your credit card readers weren’t accepting purchases. In reality, each of those scenarios happens every day to businesses both big and small. How quickly they recover depends on how well the organization has planned ahead.

Types of disasters

There are four types of disasters that can render your business ineffective and unable to operate:

  • Natural Disasters – 40% of business do not reopen following a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On top of that, another 25% fail within one year.
  • Hardware failures – 65% of businesses reported unplanned downtime due to a loss of power or utilities.
  • Human Errors – 80% of unplanned outages are due to ill-planned changes made by administrators, according to the IT Process Institute. Additionally, misconfigurations account for a high number of extended outages.
  • Cyber Crimes – Data breaches are on the rise in the U.S. In fact, more than 60% of businesses experienced phishing and social engineering attacks in 2018, and more than four billion records were exposed through data breaches during the first half of 2019 alone.

What can you do to prevent downtime?

With adequate planning, you can minimize the negative impacts associated with disaster recovery. Having the capability to maintain uninterrupted business is a necessity. Understanding how to put a disaster recovery plan in place to immediately restore technology functionality is mission critical to your businesses long-term success. Here are seven steps you should follow when creating your plan:

Define the Scope
The first step to understanding your disaster recovery needs is to investigate and document your business-critical assets (hardware, software, processes, people and data). What is necessary to function?

Analyze Business Impact and Risks
Identify potential effects of a disaster and the financial impact of those scenarios and assess the factors that can jeopardize key business initiatives.

Identify Recovery Strategies
Examine all options for recovering your IT functionality and implement processes to ensure you are prepared in the event of a disaster.

Create and Document
Creating your plan includes implementing IT updates and processes as well as assigning roles and responsibilities. Detailed documentation is also essential to the success of a disaster recovery plan. Make sure it’s clear and concise with no ambiguity. Each step must be outlined with what is to be performed and by whom, how long it should take, the expected outcome and why it is being done.

Test and Practice
The disaster recovery plan should be tested annually even if the test causes some downtime. Do the test during off hours or non-peak hours to avoid business impact. It should be managed like a change.

After implementing your disaster recovery plan, evaluate the steps frequently and make improvements as needed. Over the course of a year, many changes can take place within an IT infrastructure that could impact the success of the plan.

Don’t forget to document the updates and make them available for all. Also communicate updates and all changes in the process to essential employees.

How Odyssey can help

We know that you know how important creating a disaster recovery plan is for your business. But we also know that you’re incredibly busy. That’s why we’re here. Our team of DR experts share years of experience helping companies of all sizes develop and implement reliable disaster recovery plans. Click here to see how we can help your business reduce downtime and protect sensitive customer data.

About the Author

Donna Stanford
Donna StanfordProject Manager
Donna Stanford has more than two decades of dedicated service management experience supporting a multitude of IT services including development, database management and E2E support for HPE’s NonStop platform and financial transactions. Donna brings strong knowledge and experience of ITIL best practices. In her current role with Odyssey Information Services, Donna manages projects to implement disaster recovery, equipment upgrades and software development.