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As Benjamin Franklin famously once said – ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. Most Organisations are now completely dependent on their IT Systems to run their day-to-day Business Operations. Because of this, it is essential for these Businesses to introduce a Disaster Recovery plan (or DR plan) to maintain Continuity and keep the lights on.
7 out of 10 Small Businesses that experience major data loss go out of Business within 12 months.
If you want to be one of the three Businesses that survive, then we strongly recommend implementing and maintaining a Disaster Recovery plan that has been created specifically for your Business.
What is a Disaster Recovery plan?
A Disaster Recovery plan is a documented list of procedures and policies that are followed to recover your IT Infrastructure when your Business operations are disrupted by a Disaster or unexpected downtime.
When implemented correctly.
A Disaster Recovery plan will ensure that you can restore your disrupted Business operations quickly and efficiently, either by following a series of procedures to bring your operations back online, or by switching to a predetermined contingency plan.
An outdated Disaster Recovery plan is useless. It is essential to ensure that your DR documentation is reviewed and updated on a regular basis so it includes any changes to your IT Systems, your suppliers, locations, staff, testing processes and training requirements. Failure to update your Disaster Plan is planning to fail.
Disaster Recovery – common points of failure.
Many Small Businesses introduce a Disaster Recovery plan with the best of intentions, but many Disaster Recovery plans fail due to one or more of the following common points of failure:
- Failure to take the DR plan seriously.
- DR Procedures and processes not documented correctly.
- Lack of Organisational readiness.
- Ineffective and inconsistent DR testing processes.
- Insufficient staff DR training.
- Problems with data backups.
- Failure to update the DR plan correctly following internal changes.
- Failure to set priorities within the DR plan.
Here’s 10 major reasons why you should introduce a Disaster Recovery plan.
The following quickfire list provides ten essential reasons for your Business to introduce a Disaster Recovery plan. This list will prove to be a useful resource for anyone that is creating a Disaster Recovery Business Case.
1. Ensure your staff know what to do in a Disaster.
Taking a reactive approach to Disaster Recovery will lead to elevated levels of stress and confusion throughout the Business in the event of unexpected downtime. If your staff don’t understand how to respond to a disaster or an outage correctly then the extended downtime will affect your Business productivity and profitability. In the worst-case scenario, it will cost your Business.
A Disaster Recovery plan will detail the responsibilities of staff and suppliers, in addition to a list of procedures that will be followed in the order to bring your operations back online in the shortest possible time.
2. Meet your compliance requirements.
Many Organisations that deal with personally identifiable Information are required to have a Disaster Recovery plan in place either by trade and Business laws, or to satisfy the requirements of their clients and insurers. For example, Healthcare Companies that retain patient records are required to have a Disaster Recovery plan as part of their HIPAA compliance to greatly reduce the risk personally identifiable data loss. To maintain compliance, the DR plan will need to be tested and reviewed on a regular basis.
3. Recover from a Natural Disaster.
It would be careless to think that your Business will never become a victim of a Natural Disaster. In 2019, our Weather is more unpredictable and as a result, more Natural Disasters such as Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are occurring worldwide.
The potential consequences of your Business becoming a victim of a Natural Disaster include loss of premises, permanent data loss and loss of Business communications. Without a Disaster Recovery solution in place, a Natural Disaster will potentially be catastrophic for your Business.
4. Recover from Human Error.
We’re only human. There are numerous accidental or malicious instances that can will inevitably lead to potentially catastrophic data loss. Examples include accidental or malicious Business Critical file deletion, misplaced backup tapes, missed data backups, equipment loss and theft. Recovering from catastrophic data loss quickly and efficiently is possible if you have an effective Disaster recovery plan in place.
5. Maintain your Business Credibility and Reputation.
No Business owner wants to tell their clients or investors that their data is lost and unrecoverable. And it’s not just the data that’s unrecoverable – the damage caused to your Business Credibility and your reputation when losing Clients sensitive, personal and critical data can be irreversible and eventually end up with you going out of Business.
6. Customer Reacquisition is an expensive Business.
Competition is increasing across all industry sectors at a relentless rate and Customers are more demanding now than ever before. If your Customers productivity or profitability is affected by a disruption to your Service levels, then there’s plenty of Competitors waiting to take your place!
7. Cyber Crime is on the increase.
Over 43% of UK Businesses have experienced a Cyber Security in the last 12 months – a figure that is only set to increase. A successful Cyber Attack could potentially result in irreversible damage to your Business that is caused by a permanent loss of data or becoming a victim of a Ransomware attack. A correctly implemented Disaster Recovery plan will ensure that your Business will be able to fully recover your data and quickly return to normal operations in the event of a Cyber-attack.
8. Recover from Hardware or Software failure.
Two of the most common causes of system downtime or data loss are hardware or software failure. By introducing a Disaster Recovery plan, you can introduce a series of processes and procedures that will ensure you can restore your data within minutes of data loss occurring.
For example, with a Cloud-based Disaster Recovery solution, your entire Server infrastructure can be replicated (virtualised) in the Cloud within a Virtual Machine (VM). In the event of a disaster or outage, your staff will be able to access your remote virtual infrastructure and continue working from any location that has an Internet connection, whether it be from home or a temporary office work space.
As an additional layer of redundancy, your Virtual Machine will be mirrored at another independent data centre – backing up your systems AND your data.
9. Reduce system downtime.
The faster you can react to a disaster or outage, the quicker you can get your systems back online and your Business back on its feet. Introducing an effective Disaster Recovery solution will ensure your staff understand their roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster or system outage.
A well-documented ‘up-to-date’ DR plan and ongoing staff DR training is the best way to avoid extended downtime that will affect your productivity and your bottom line.
10. Mitigate the cost of recovery.
Trying to recover from a Disaster or an outage without proper direction will have financial implications for your Business. A lack of forward planning and processes will lead to internal confusion in the event of a Disaster, resulting in extended system downtime.
Additionally, adopting a reactive approach to DR will also put added pressure on employees that are tasked with getting your systems back online – distracting them from their primary job role and causing them elevated levels of stress. Ultimately, this will have a negative effect on staff morale, productivity and profitability.
90% of Businesses that suffer a major disaster will go out of Business within three years. A Disaster Recovery plan is ESSENTIAL to ensuring your Business Continuity. Without question, it will give you the best possible chance of being one of the 10% that survive a major incident.
Take a minute to do the math before creating a Disaster Recovery Business Case.
How much money would it cost your Business if you were unable to operate for a day? What about a week or even a month? How long could you stay in Business after a major incident if you couldn’t recover your Business and Client data? If you don’t have a Disaster Recovery solution in place, then we suggest taking a moment to consider the above points and then calculate how much money your Business would lose if a major incident occurred.
Thank you for reading our article. We hope that the above 10 reasons have provided you with enough information to create a compelling Business case for introducing a Disaster Recovery plan.