Corporate disasters come in all sizes, from devastating fires and natural disasters, to data theft and cyber-crime. Regardless of the size of the disasters or even how you define them, they can mean big trouble for your business continuity. Data loss in particular can mean the end of some businesses unless you have an actionable plan in place.
Here are six questions you can ask to make sure your disaster recovery and business continuity plan is ready to go:
- Have you performed a thorough business impact assessment? Your company probably has tons of data and operations overall, but what do you really need to survive a disaster? A well thought-out business impact assessment or disaster recovery audit will identify those critical business functions, recovery point objectives, and recovery time objectives for each business process. It will also map your critical business processes to the IT systems that support them.
- Do you have in-house expertise or have you spoken to experienced disaster recovery planners and project managers? Be sure that whoever is assigned to build your disaster recovery plan has the experience and wherewithal to execute that plan. Do they know your systems and disaster recovery solution well? A smart disaster recovery planning consultant can really help you and your staff with the preparedness you’ll need.
- Have you invested the appropriate resources, budget, and time? A smart disaster recovery solution can make or break your business when a crisis occurs. You need to invest accordingly and make sure that your plan evolves as your business evolves. It needs to stay current and that requires commitment.
- Have you planned alternate lines of communication? How will you communicate after a disaster if the phone lines are down, cell phones don’t work, and your employees scatter? Gather all employee contact information and make sure people know where this is; and plan for a number of different communication scenarios.
- Have you tested your plan thoroughly and frequently? Remember all those fire drills in grade school? The same goes here. Test your plan at least once a year. This will help you identify parts of your disaster recovery solution that need updating.
- Do you keep your plans accurate and up to date? Your business is changing, evolving, and growing, and your disaster recovery plan should always reflect these changes. You don’t want your plan to rely on an employee who left the company four months ago.
Nobody wants to think about the need for disaster recovery solutions or business continuity plans, mainly because what drives IT to this need is never pleasant. But, you’ll be glad you’ve thought this out when and if the need arises.