A disaster could strike your business at any point.
In fact, it may strike while you're reading this article – look out behind you!
Whether it's a natural disaster – a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, volcanic eruption, or meteor, for example, or a human-made one – terrorism, cyberattacks, nuclear reactor meltdown, or oil spill, you never know when it's coming.
This is why you need to plan for it.
It might seem counterintuitive – to plan for the unplannable – but with the proper plan in place you can be as prepared as possible.
There will always be things you didn't anticipate, but the good news is you aren't the first business to go through a disaster preparedness and recovery plan.
Being familiar with the most important elements of a disaster recovery plan will go a long way toward getting your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
If you have a business disaster recovery plan, and it doesn't include the following items, you should think about revising it.
1. A BIA (Business Impact Analysis)
A BIA (not to be confused with the other BIA – business improvement area, an organization dedicated to improving a local commercial area of which you may be a member) helps you identify the potential effects of a disaster on your business.
This should first and foremost include the lives and personal safety of your staff and management, but there's more to it than that.
Financial losses are an important consideration as well, in terms of lost sales, lost wages, and even loss of access to funds in case of a catastrophic bank failure.
Your regulatory compliance may change as a result of a disaster and the method by which you recover from it, so it's important to ensure your company remains compliant with any regulations necessary in your industry.
Other issues may include legal or contractual ramifications, as well as any damage to your reputation as a result of your reaction to this situation.
No one can fault you for being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a disaster that's out of your control, but if all your competitors are back up and running in a few days and you're still on your knees after a month, people may lose confidence in you.
Your BIA will help you lay out the potential repercussions of any disaster scenario.
Once that's done, it will help you prioritize which problems will be the most impactful to your business so you can triage accordingly.
2. A Focus On Humans
Your IT systems are important, but they're only a part of your business.
By focusing too heavily on IT, you'll neglect the repercussions faced by the people in your organization.
This includes not only your staff and management, but your customers as well.
How will they feel during your recovery?
How will their lives be affected by the fact that your business has been out of commission?
Disasters often involve an evacuation of an affected area. How and when will your staff be able to return to work?
Without your staff at the helm, your IT systems don't mean a thing.
When you build a business, you build a community.
It's important to pay attention to the needs of the community you've built.
On top of this, any disaster recovery plan will need people to oversee its execution.
Be sure your plan identifies the critical people who need to be involved in the process as well as backup personnel, since it's difficult to know how individuals will be affected by a disaster.
3. A Communication Strategy
Amid all the chaos, you'll have to communicate what's happening to those affected.
This includes your staff and management as well as your customers.
Who is permitted to speak on behalf of your company?
What are they permitted to say?
How will you reassure those affected by a disaster that your company will return to normal operations as soon as possible?
Along with this, your spokesperson ought to know how much they're allowed to reveal to the public as well.
This will prevent having a scattered response to the situation.
After all, in times of difficulty, showing strong and organized leadership will help your company to be seen as a leader in your industry and inspire confidence in your staff and customers.
4. A Strategy To Keep Your Disaster Recovery Plan Up-To-Date
Things change in business.
If a disaster strikes, and you've added new systems to your company since the last time you updated your disaster recovery plan, you may not know how to properly recover.
Unless your plan takes into account your entire company and all its various moving parts, it just won't be effective.
But even if you're still using the same systems, they've likely changed in the last several years.
This includes software updates, patches, layout changes, and even complete system overhauls.
If your disaster recovery plan relies on the fact that they're the same as they used to be, you'll find yourself in a difficult situation.
5. A Professional Team To Help
If you don't have experience with disaster planning and recovery, it helps to call a team of experts that does.
While this may seem like the sort of thing you can handle internally, keep in mind that your staff is not well-versed in all the different things that could go wrong during a disaster.
Here at Skybox Cloud, we offer disaster planning and recovery services to help your business experience the least amount of downtime for the smallest number of systems possible during a disaster.
We'll help you with:
- Risk management – identifying what may impair the operations of your organization, and how
- Contingency planning – establishing how to deal with disasters on all levels of your organization
- Business continuity – keeping your business running as much as possible during a disaster
- Backup – duplicate copies of all your important files related to operations
- Continuous availability – keeping your IT systems running during a disaster
- And more
Don't wait until a tsunami is knocking on your front door to be prepared.
Contact Skybox Cloud today and we'll help you weather the storm.