Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans

You Need a Plan

The last thing that a company needs during an outage is to wonder what to do next. Who do you call? Where are the backups? Do they work? Do we have the capacity on the remaining systems? Who does what and when?

Proper planning and testing alleviates these questions, and many more in the event of disaster. Preparing and practicing a proper disaster recovery plan is paramount to getting back up and running when disaster strikes.

Be Realistic

Typically, the reason people don’t make disaster recovery plans is that they don’t have the resources to do it. As the business owner, they’re already doing more than one job. Just like anything else in business, formulating a proper recovery plan takes time.

To develop a realistic backup and disaster recovery plan, you must understand the potential hazards that could affect your business, as well as your business processes and technology needs. Once this is done, a plan can be made to ensure that you have enough resources and personnel to get the job done.

Get Help

Get other people involved-ask TCSP technicians.  Because backed-up data is a crucial part of every disaster recovery plan, you also need to consider how you’re backing up your data. Backup methods and media have different longevity, storage requirements and other considerations.

Ask yourself:

  • What processes, components, and physical and human resources are required to run my business?
  • What is the likelihood of disaster, both natural and otherwise, for my area?
  • What other risks do I need to prepare for?
  • What are my critical IT components? (Email, accounting, contact management, online ordering system, servers, workstations, etc.?)
  • How long could I do without each IT component?
  • Do I have an alternative site where I could access my business data if something happens to my office?

Create your Plan

Once you’ve written your plan, make sure everyone in your organization knows about it. Then, review it regularly.  We recommend that you review your plan annually, a lot can change in a year.

Use the following list to see if your IT disaster recovery plan is complete:

  • Inventory your technology hardware and software.
  • Document your voice/telephone service, data circuit/ Internet service, web host/DNS registrar, and email service information.
  • Include the names and phone numbers of each of your service providers.
  • Include your account numbers, usernames, and passwords for those services.
  • Backup your critical business data locally and to an offsite location.
  • Verify and test your restore process regularly.
  • Document all of your essential business processes.
  • Create vendor/supplier and employee contact lists and update them monthly.
  • Identify two recovery sites, such as a hotel, a vendor’s office, or even a relative’s home.
  • Subscribe to a severe weather alerting system via text, smartphone, or email.
  • Maintain adequate disaster recovery supplies to support a family for three days.
  • Consider VOIP or a hosted PBX phone service.
  • Purchase a backup/satellite/mobile Internet service plan.
  • Review your insurance policy for adequate business loss coverage of your data.
  • Execute service-level agreements with key service providers, such as fuel, fleet services, and building repairs.

Get it Tested

We specialize in preventive maintenance, software updates, and data backups to prevent downtime. TCSP offers on-site, on call, and fixed-cost contract IT solutions that are customized to fit each business.

Disaster can be moments away, even with new equipment. All of our clients are small and mid-sized businesses so we advise that there be three “layers of protection”,  plus battery backups. Verify and test your backup and restore process regularly.

Real-life tests like this can often be more effective than a simple thought experiment. It’s easy to overlook some of the implications of a disaster when you’re just walking through it in your head. By actually running a test, by really shutting things down, you can discover issues in your plan that you might have never thought of. Test how quickly you can pull together key players. Involve everyone, and make sure each person has a role. Acknowledge that first-timers may be nervous. Take the lessons learned with you.

Focus on Fast

The total hourly cost of downtime is most likely a combination of lost sales, lost employee productivity, lost data, and lost customer confidence/satisfaction.