Disaster Recovery:  Developing an Emergency Plan

Disaster Recovery Emergency Plan

Disaster recovery is a hot topic every spring, due to often dangerous and unpredictable weather causing electrical outages or water damage and wreaking havoc on businesses. But disasters don’t just happen in the spring, and they’re not always weather-related. Having a disaster recovery plan for your business systems – phones, data, cabling, workstations – is one of the best investments you can make for your company’s continued success.

Defining Disaster

Most people think of a disaster as a weather-related event, but when it comes to your business’ IT systems, disaster can take many forms. While a lightning strike, flood, or tornado captures immediate attention, equipment failures, data breaches, and corrupted files could be occurring in your business for several days before anyone realizes it. And what may be a disaster for one business might only be a minor issue for another. It’s all in how your business defines disaster, and how you prepare for it.

Prevention – Detection – Correction

Developing a disaster recovery plan isn’t just for those times when your business is down for the count and you need to get it back up and running. A disaster recovery plan should be a way to not only correct issues but also to detect and prevent problems before they become full-blown disasters.

Preventative measures can lessen the impact of issues when they arise. Such measures may include:

Detective measures alert you to unwanted events should they occur. From installing security cameras and fire alarms to keeping your antivirus software up to date, detecting issues as they arise will allow you to address them quickly.

Corrective measures do exactly what their name suggests: they correct issues once they occur. By establishing protocols for corrective measures, you will be able to repair or restore your systems after a disaster. This portion of your disaster recovery plan can include the inclusion of critical documents in your written plan and obtaining insurance policies written especially for IT disasters.

Setting Priorities

When a disaster occurs in your IT system, you need to have a prioritized plan in place in order to recover as quickly as possible. Understand, however, that this may mean you’ll be limping along for a period of time with just your most critical systems operational. But deciding which systems are critical and which are lower on the priority list is an important part of developing a disaster recovery plan.

As strange as this may seem, you might want to take a page out of Waffle House’s playbook when it comes to establishing priorities in your disaster recovery plan. Waffle House has a well-established disaster response plan; they prioritize their restaurant functions and menu options and in doing so they keep the doors open in the event of a natural disaster.  While it might seem like a stretch to compare frying bacon to keeping your critical systems running, the fact is that Waffle House understands that certain parts of their business need immediate and sustained attention in the event of a disaster, and they have outlined a series of protocols that keep these high-priority systems functioning.

Don’t “Set It and Forget It”

Developing a disaster recovery plan isn’t a box to check on a list. You’ll need to consistently review and alter that plan as your business changes and grows and as technology continues to develop. In the midst of a disaster is not the time to learn that your plan no longer meets your company’s needs. Establishing a regular schedule of review should also be part of your plan, whether you do so quarterly or on a yearly basis. If you ever need to put the plan into action, having an updated strategy will help get things moving along more swiftly.

If you’d like to develop a disaster recovery plan or need to reexamine your current plan but don’t know where to start, contact us here at Lieberman Technologies. We can guide you in developing a plan that will help you overcome a disaster, no matter what form it might take.