When most people think about disaster, they think about Flood, Fire, Tornado, and the like. However, in today’s technology climate, a potential “disaster” can lurk in the mundane, everyday tasks. It could be a simple as an employee accidentally deleting a critical file or unknowingly unleashing a virus on your network, to a power surge destroying a piece of hardware. No matter what the cause, every business will experience outages and downtime – they key is having a solution in place to ensure that you can continue operations with no (or minimal) impact to the bottom line.
To ensure that your systems, data and personnel are protected and your business can continue to operate in the event of an actual emergency or disaster, use the following guidelines to create a disaster plan that will help you quickly recover. Over the next 8 installments, we’ll cover the 8 steps to a Killer Disaster Recovery Plan.
Step 1. Inventory all your hardware and software.
Your DR plan should include “a complete inventory of [hardware and] applications in priority order,” says Oussama El-Hilali, vice president of Products for Arcserve. “Each application [and piece of hardware] should have the vendor technical support contract information and contact numbers,” so you can get back up and running quickly. For the small to mid-sized business taking and maintaining this inventory is a daunting task. That’s why we suggest partnering with your local IT Managed Service Provider (MSP). Many MSPs include asset management as a part of their overall support agreement.
However, for those do-it-yourselfs out there, Belarc makes some really nice tools to help with asset & inventory management.
Step 2 of 8 – Define Your Tolerance for Downtime and Data Loss.
Step 3 of 8 – Determine & Document Who’s Responsible for What.
Step 4 of 8 – Create a Communication Plan.
Step 5 of 8 – Let Employees Know Where to go in Case of Emergency..
Step 6 of 8 – Make sure your service-level agreements (SLAs) include disasters/emergencies..
Step 7 of 8 – Include how to handle sensitive information.
Step 8 of 8 – Test your plan regularly.