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. This is the 3nd installment of the 8 steps to a Killer Disaster Recovery Plan. If you missed the first two installments, you can find them here:
Step 1 of 8 – Inventory all your hardware and software.
Step 2 of 8 – Define Your Tolerance for Downtime and Data Loss.
Step 3. Determine & Document Who’s Responsible for What
“All disaster recovery plans should clearly define the key roles, responsibilities and parties involved during a DR event,” says Will Chin, director of cloud services, Computer Design & Integration. “Among these responsibilities must be the decision to declare a disaster. Having clearly identified roles will garner a universal understanding of what tasks need to be completed and who is [responsible for what]. This is especially critical when working with third-party vendors or providers. All parties involved need to be aware of each others responsibilities in order to ensure the DR process operates as efficiently as possible.”
It’s important to have plans for your entire staff, from Owners & C-level executives all the way down – including personnel from necessary vendors. You need to make sure that each one understands the process, and what’s expected of them. Protocols for a disaster recovery (DR) plan must include who and how to contact the appropriate individuals on the DR team, and in what order, to get systems up and running as soon as possible. It is critical to have a list of the DR personnel with the details of their position, responsibilities [and emergency contact information]. This gets everyone back on their feet quicker.
It’s also a good idea to have a succession plan in place with trained back-up employees in case a key staff member is on vacation or in a situation where they cannot fulfill their responsibilities.
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.