How Do You Recover From a Disaster?

If there were a disaster and your facilities were destroyed, would you still be in business in six months?

It’s a question we ask businesses every day.

Your disaster recovery plan should confidently answer this question. No one likes to think about business-destroying disasters, but the fact is these types of events can and do happen. It could be something as simple as a windstorm that knocks down power lines or as devastating as a fire that destroys everything. Disasters, whether minor or major, can wreak havoc and make it difficult for a business to recover. A fire or a flood or a tornado can level a business quickly, and if you don’t have a recovery plan a catastrophic event could mean the end of your company.

disaster recovery

Beyond the replacement of office space, supplies, and equipment, there is another facet of disaster recovery that is crucial to your company’s survival: infrastructure that houses your business data. If your business were to be hit with a disaster tomorrow, having a recovery plan in place for your network could very well mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closing them forever.

Need proof? Consider these statistics:

  • 43% of companies that experience a major data loss do not reopen (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)
  • 80% of companies that do not recover from a data loss within one month are likely to go out of business in the immediate future (Bernstein Crisis Management)
  • 93% of companies that experience a data disaster are out of business within 5 years. (U.S Bureau of Labor)

The importance of your data can’t be discounted.

So, how do you make sure your data is recoverable?

There are three areas in data recovery that you must address in order to be fully secure in the event of a disaster: prevention, detection, and correction.

Prevention: Obviously, the best defense is a good offense, and stopping problems before they become problems is by far the best measure of security. Not only does this include intrusion threats and hacking issues, but also takes into consideration the backup of your data.

Detection: Problems sometimes lie in wait, working in the background for a period of time before anyone realizes something is wrong. Detecting these issues as they happen can limit downtime and protect your valuable data. Examine your current policies and plans and review them on a regular basis.

Correction: When an issue has made it past the first two control measures in your recovery plan, then you must take steps to correct the problem and restore your data. If you’ve followed the protocols set forth in the first two control measures, then data recovery can be a much less stressful matter.

Of course it’s not enough to just commit to these measures. You must also document and regularly test each of these areas, so that when the unthinkable happens, you’re prepared.

Various business processes vary in their operational time and depth of data, and disaster recovery control measures must take this into consideration when it comes to establishing recovery protocols. Each process must have a defined recovery point and a time objective for recovery of data. Without these two criteria established, any breach in IT security could significantly extend the impact of a disaster.

We have discussed the importance of regular backups in this space, and this is one instance where a regular backup schedule is invaluable. In the event of a natural disaster, data that has been backed up off-site is immediately recoverable. Your facility may be in ruins and you may have to set up temporarily in another location, but your data will be there, allowing you to resume business without missing too many beats.

The idea of planning for a disaster may seem overwhelming, but a business with such a plan is a business that can confidently prepare for the future. Prioritizing disaster recovery and scheduled backups allows a business to plan for successful growth, knowing that timely recovery is assured in the event of a catastrophe.

How do you feel about your disaster recovery plan?

{photo used under Creative Commons from usacehq – flickr}