Reading Time: 4.5 Min
Was “extended global pandemic” one of the scenarios your disaster recovery team reviewed in your disaster recovery planning sessions?
According to a study by Mercer, over half of companies around the globe don’t have ANY business continuity plans in place for emergencies or natural disasters.
We covered a lot of ways to check your disaster recovery preparations in our original blog post, only now, in 2021, the workplace doesn’t appear as it once did…
So we’re going to give everyone a bit of a refresh on how to start with disaster recovery planning, but also how to review an existing one.
What’s in this article:
|a. Check Your Backups
|b. Understanding New Threats To Your Business
|c. Follow Up With Resources In Your Plan
|d. Confirm Details With Any Existing IT Support
What is an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?
For leadership, the challenge of employee engagement is not the only thing that has come up this year.
Business impact analysis would show new obstacles in IT, operations, sales, legal… all aspects of business.
To add to these challenges, team members working from home have diverse circumstances for technology, including Internet, risk of power outages, or cybersecurity...
In any existing DR plans, there could now be multiple external points of potential failure for business processes and data protection.
- Technology compatibility
- Internet connectivity and quality
- Power outage risks
- Cyber Security in the home
The threat of data breaches and cyber attacks is still real - only now it can be magnified because your valuable people are no longer in the protected, secure technology space of the office.
If it hasn’t been a topic of conversation during meetings - that should have changed.
All of the challenges in 2020-2021 have explicitly shown the need for disaster recovery and business continuity planning.
Your disaster recovery planning should always include:
1. Identifying mission critical part of your business
What’s most important to your business? What would it mean if those parts of your business were interrupted?
2. Evaluating what could go wrong
Work with the different areas and departments in your business. Learn what’s important to them and what would need to be recovered in an emergency.
3. Figuring out what data backup and recovery looks like
Create exact methods that will fix the problems created by the disaster or emergency. This includes monitoring of the situation and acting on changes.
4. Creating a communication plan
This is where you build your disaster recovery team. Assign roles and responsibilities as a part of the recovery plan.
5. Testing the plan
Always be looking for gaps and opportunities to improve.
Looking for more details on business continuity planning? Check out our blog: 5 Essential Components of a Business Continuity Plan
Here are some steps you can take, to review your plan and continue testing:
4 Steps for A Successful Disaster Recovery Plan Review
1. Check Your Backups
Backups are a 100% essential part of ensuring business continuity. They also play an important role in how the company handles general threats to their IT security.
In 2021, business network failures can still come from a natural disaster or cyber attack.
Only now, hardware failure has become an issue that can occur more often outside the office.
Adapting your disaster recovery and backup system in place will need to give consideration to government mandates or personal safety choices - things like social distancing may need to become part of your plan now.
If you haven’t looked into the reality of how these parts can affect your continuity plan, start now.
Don’t wait until after you have lost the data or lost customers to adapt your most critical pieces to current events - there’s nothing wrong with having a plan B!
2. Understanding New Threats To Your Business
2020 unlocked a lot of pandora’s boxes for leaders. What could have seemed like an impossibility is now reality; have you given “what else could happen?”
You should already have a clear picture of your business’ overall threats and planned for them, but is there anything new vulnerability?
Climate change could have you thinking about environmental threats, compared to the IT-specific threats of cyberattacks. Look at them with no bias and determine if they are real threats to your business.
Calgary’s 2013 flooding had enormous implications for businesses.
In 2016, the Fort McMurray Fire destroyed nearly ten percent of the city and destroyed over 2,400 structures. Only 25% of SMBs had disaster recovery (DR) plans in place during these times.
There is no reason to be fearful of these types of events, we can only do our best to prepare - so why not review and see how new threats could affect your existing plan?
3. Follow Up With Resources In Your Plan
Look at the personnel in your DR team - has there been any turnover with employees who are/were a part of your team?
Has there been any changes during your plan’s testing and review that would require new team members?
Is the IT company in charge of your back ups still using the same contacts on their end?
Has your team discussed what, if anything, needs to be updated, resource-wise, in your plan?
Do you have the resources your business needs for making work from home a more permanent part of your business operations? There are opinions that say 70% of the workforce has to this way of working.
4. Confirm Details With Any Existing IT Support
Technology moves at an extremely fast rate - this is no secret.
Due to this, speaking about your DR plan with any external IT support should 100% be a part of your review and/or refresh.
In times of crisis, your business is not the only one that has been affected - its probable that any IT service or support company deals with all sorts of changes that can benefit you and your disaster recovery planning.
Look at things like costs, emerging technologies, potential vulnerabilities - most IT companies should be able to provide you with insights on these fronts.
Start a conversation, learn about what’s new, find out if there are new ways to address gaps and opportunities in your plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a lot of businesses' level of emergency preparedness.
If you are one of the businesses that was not prepared for this type of emergency, there is no point in focusing on the past, now is the time to act!
Shift your mindset to tackle the challenges that emergencies could bring to your doorstep - we are all working on ways to stay prepared and there are experts who can help you build a cost-effective DR plan and strategy to keep your technology running in an emergency.
Got questions about disaster recovery planning and business continuity? Reach out to our team directly to be connected with one of our tech experts and we'd be happy to guide you!
This is a followup to a previous blog entry, originally titled “Business Critical Recovery & Backup”, posted in 2019.