While small businesses might not want to admit it, their ability to continue their operations is not always guaranteed. All sorts of disasters, from computer malfunctions to flooding, can interrupt the flow of business, preventing them from serving customers.
It’s vital, therefore, that all enterprises have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Typically a disaster recovery plan refers to a strategy that companies use to recover from some kind of IT issue. The idea is to build the firm’s robustness against things like data loss, allowing it to continue providing services, even in the event of a critical loss of systems.
Interestingly, disaster recovery plans often contain compromises. Companies, for instance, may create a duplicate, disaster-only system that allows them to provide a “minimally viable” service for customers while working to bring their central systems back online. Often, it’s a cost-benefit approach that seeks to generate the redundancies that the firm needs, without dramatically increasing overheads.
Disaster recovery plans are rarely something that the IT department implements in isolation. More often than not, effective recovery requires the cooperation of the entire team, with each person having a role.
For instance, suppose that you suffer a systemwide failure because of a server issue. The server appears inoperable, so you fire up your secondary backup system, providing your employees with a basic level of functionality.
Ideally, you want it so that employees can adapt to this new set of circumstances quickly. They should know which tasks are a priority and which aren’t. Furthermore, they should also have a working understanding of backup systems so that they can continue to provide adequate services to customers, even if they don’t have access to the full suite of tools.
Many companies choose to situate their disaster recovery hardware off-site, just in case their main premises is hit with a power cut, flooding, cyberattack, or a natural disaster. By keeping resources off-site, managers can spread the risk that their enterprise faces, reducing its reliance on a single location. Disaster recovery plans, therefore, are about putting place a plan of action if things go wrong while also find novel ways to mitigate IT risk.
The primary reason for having a disaster recovery plan is obvious: to allow your amLL business to continue operating, even when things go wrong.
But what’s interesting is the sheer number of threats that businesses face. We’ve discussed a few already, but there are all kinds of issues that might crop up, leading to disastrous consequences for your IT infrastructure.
Human error is a big problem.
Your employees, unfortunately, aren’t perfect. Worse still, the majority aren’t computer savvy. Thus workers are frequently the most prominent IT security threat that businesses face.
Human error can take many forms. Perhaps the most common is not knowing how to interact with software and hardware appropriately. An employee could fiddle around with the BIOS or network configurations, not really knowing what they are doing, and cause the whole system to shut down.
Then there’s the fact that humans are often the weak point in your digital security. Hackers know that they can’t decrypt your communications or bypass your firewall. Thus they try it on with your employees, sending them convincing-looking emails that attempt to collect sensitive company data.
If an employee falls for it, which they will at some point, you can find yourself locked out of your data facing a ransom demand.
Not being able to communicate with customers is a big issue. Clients expect to be able to get in touch with you at a moment’s notice. If they can’t, then it reflects poorly on your firm.
Whenever businesses suffer downtime, it’s a lost revenue opportunity. Precious time that they could spend selling vanishes, meaning fewer satisfied customers. Again, this underscores the importance of an effective disaster recovery plan.
Computer hardware isn’t failsafe. While modern components are highly reliable, unforeseen issues inevitably arise.
Sometimes the problems are simple to fix. A server, for instance, might not want to boot because the CPU fan has stopped working. Issues like this are an easy fix. Just whip out the old fan and replace it with a new one, and you’re ready to boot again.
On other occasions, the problems are far more severe. An SSD drive might have become corrupt, preventing you from accessing essential files and documents.
The reason the cloud is now so popular is that it helps to spread risks. Cloud services and backup stores all of your firm’s data across a myriad of drives, ensuring that there are duplicates available, should the primaries fail.
What’s more, the cloud lets you pass the somewhat tricky tasks of managing all your computer hardware onto somebody else, freeing you up from having to fix problems yourself.
Natural disasters can be devastating to businesses. Statistics suggest that 80 percent of companies that close for five days following a natural disaster never open again.
When it comes to natural disasters, companies need two things: insurance and a mechanism that enables them to continue skeleton operations, even if the premises are unusable.
So what does this mean in practice? Essentially, it means having a separate way of working that enables you to get by without a central office for a week or two while you find new facilities.
One way to increase the robustness of your organization is to shift more and more operations to the cloud. The cloud not only reduces your reliance on local servers, but it also makes your workforce location independent. With cloud tools, your people don’t actually need to travel to the office every day. They can work from home, chat with each other, collaborate on projects, just as they would normally.
No company is immune to disasters, especially of the information technology variety. Companies, therefore, need systems in place that allow them to continue, even if they lose the use of tools they rely on to function. Backups and redundancies are essential.