Disasters can strike at any time, whether they be caused by human error, malicious attacks or natural disasters such as fires and floods.
When unforeseen incidents occur, the organisation’s disaster recovery plan should instantly come into action to ensure that business continuity can be maintained with either no interruption or a minimal amount of it.
Business continuity involves thinking about the business at a higher level and asking: how quickly can I get my business operating again in case of system failure? Investment in business continuity is like buying insurance, and should be a vital part of any business plan since the best way to prevent downtime is to keep a step ahead of potential disaster.
Don’t be complacent
Most businesses think they are ready for business continuity, but once disasters actually strike the real problems occur. The issue is that consciousness slips as time goes on. What businesses must be able to do is to minimise the impact of unplanned downtime when something disruptive happens. With so many ways to connect with the world in today’s society, the reputational risk with a business not being able to function as it should is huge.
Downtime is real, and it’s costly. According to research by the Aberdeen Group, the cost of downtime by company size are: small companies approximately $8,581 per hour; medium companies $215,638 per hour; and large enterprises $686,250 for every hour of downtime.
The numbers speak for themselves: you need to plan for downtime. If you do not currently have a clear disaster recovery plan in place, start by speaking to your IT department or IT service provider to devise one that is suitable for your business.
Traditionally, backing up is performed overnight when most users have logged off their organisation’s systems using a rotation of tapes. Despite being a technology that is more than four decades old, 61% of SMBs still ship backup tapes to a storage facility or another office. The processes for saving data to tape, removing it to a remote location, and retrieving it for disaster recovery are extremely cumbersome and time consuming, costing business hours of downtime that can otherwise be avoided.
Today as we expect 24×7 usage and the amount of data is rapidly expanding, it is increasingly important to employ updated solutions that can cater for such around the clock needs.
Consider backing up to the cloud – your backups are stored in data centres offsite to rule out the possibility of data loss due to physical damage to your business location, and recovery time is quick as it can all be done remotely. Automated backup methods can also be set up at a regular interval to ensure all your latest data are saved securely and can be quickly accessed should something go wrong.
Test, test and test
Anyone who has executed a plan before would know that things don’t always go as expected.
To ensure that a disaster recovery plan works, it has to be regularly tested. Backups need to be performed regularly with continuous availability, and testing will help to iron out any flaws in the process before disaster strikes.
Is your business disaster-ready?
How ready do you think your business is now? It always helps to discuss with professionals, so speak with your IT manager or service provider. The last thing you’d want for your business is to realise that you don’t have the necessary recovery methods – only after it’s too late.