16 January 2020

Disaster Recovery

Need to know about Disaster Recovery?

Why your Business needs a Disaster Recovery solution.

It’s no secret that disaster recovery is an important part of any business’ optimal functioning. A contingency plan is therefore essential to ensure that should disaster strike, you as the user, as well as your IT team are well prepared for anything.

One of the ways to prepare your company for disaster is by developing a disaster recovery plan (DRP). This document outlines a set of policies and procedures to follow in the event of any technical problems. This may involve being able to recover data from a regularly backed up server, or even accessing an online platform on which data is stored.

Nowadays we are lucky to have access to a number of programs that come with a sort of DRP already in place, such as the Auto-Save function in Microsoft Office’s applications, which does most of the backing up for you so you don’t have to worry about clicking Save after every sentence. Other applications favoured in differing degrees by companies include similar features, especially cloud-based and browser-based collaborative platforms as they run constant automatic backups of any changes made to a document, ensuring that any work you or your team does is safely tucked away on a server.

So, what could possible disasters entail? Disaster doesn’t necessarily always mean an accidentally deleted file, or a power failure resulting in work halted to be recovered when the lights come back on – it could mean actually losing equipment, assets, data, and communications during hurricanes, floods, fires, and the like.

Essential components to setting up your Disaster Recovery Plan

Because these events can strike unpredictably and very quickly, having a detailed DRP in place can mean the difference between being able to recover all your data after disaster, or suffering a major blow to your business which could lead to your company folding. To set up a disaster recovery plan, it’s important to include some essential steps, such as the following:

Communication is key

One human reaction that we can always expect when thinking about disaster, is panic. Knowing that panic is bound to ensure, it’s important to keep communication open and to the point to ensure each role-player knows exactly what to do in the event of a disaster. Assigning each employee a task to take responsibility of can help a lot in recovering after disaster, whether that means managing a phone line, or setting up stations.

Equipment

Equipment is expensive and extremely valuable to any company making use of equipment like computers that can suffer electrical problems after power surges. In the event of a scheduled power outage, the best practice is to turn all stations off prior to the event to prevent a loss of data and machines in general. Where more serious disasters are in play, like floods, getting equipment off of floors and stored as high up as possible is one way to ensure the chance of damage is decrease as far as is in your power.

Data backups and updates

A helpful feature that is incredibly popular throughout the world and is readily available through a number of platforms is cloud-based storage. Collaborative platforms play one of the biggest parts in data synchronization in a company, allowing users to collaborate and edit documents quickly and seamlessly. Oftentimes your company will have found a platform that integrates with your desktop applications, meaning documents are more easily synchronized across user spaces. When taking into consideration what a cloud-based storage option can offer your business, it’s easy to make the decision to backup data to a cloud, as it can be extracted and restored with one click. This is an especially helpful feature, as data is less likely to get lost the way it would with hard backups, and can be accessed from virtually anywhere.

That said, backups don’t occur automatically, and are often the result of an IT team backing work up to a server on a regular basis. Should you feel a document is too valuable to lose to something even as basic as human error, platforms are available to store that data. It is, therefore, a shared responsibility to make sure that you regularly backup your data to ensure recovery is a possibility, should the need arise. Hard backups, like on an external hard drive are also a great way of having a way to take data with you offsite.

Inventory of assets

Detailing the equipment in your workspace, like computers and components, phones, printers, servers, and so forth is a great way to prepare for disaster as insurance claims processes are made easier – just be sure to include all details of each asset as well as a photo.

Restoration post-disaster

Having a recovery plan is, most importantly, there to get you back up and running following a disaster as soon as possible with as little as possible difficulties. Setting up stations, internet connections, and phone lines are the most important elements to restore after the fact, and as far as data recovery goes, paying attention to the little things is what makes the difference. Remembering to keep communication channels open with vendors and other role-players in your company’s functioning is key to ensuring you get back on your feet as soon as possible – and that’s why a DRP is a factor you cannot go without in your business.

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