Nobody likes to prepare for the worst, but the worst often becomes a reality when you least expect it. Such is the nature of disasters, and without an adequate recovery plan in place, a business will far exceed the average of $25,000 lost per serious contingency. These 5 steps to creating a backup and disaster recovery plan will help your business be prepared.
5 Steps to Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan
What is a disaster recovery plan? It constitutes the steps a business takes to get back on track as quickly as possible following a disaster. Good plans leverage technology solutions like cloud services and have robust data recovery procedures in place.
Disaster recovery planning takes on many additional forms, however, a few universal considerations do exist. Here are five things to consider when creating a disaster recovery plan.
1. Be Proactive with Disaster Recovery Planning
Disasters can be natural or man-made, and in Nashville, there are plenty of both. Disaster planning is tricky because it must consider a spectrum of contingencies, and account for unforeseen circumstances. Some examples of disasters to be prepared for include:
- Natural disasters
- Cash flow interruptions
- Cyber attacks
- Intellectual property lawsuits
- Structural failure
- Power outages
- Local disasters
Most business disaster planning guides recommend forming a planning and recovery team. This creates a focused, oriented task force which can methodically move through the stages of drafting procedures for each contingency. While it is impossible to account for every contingency, the most effective business disaster recovery plans are those which allow flexibility and anticipate a wide range of possibilities.
2. Identify the Organization’s Critical Functions and Infrastructure
A business impact analysis predicts possible causes and outcomes of disruptions in business processes. It also helps establish critical functions, which the business would cease to run without.
Critical functions take many forms according to the nature of the business. An online retail business might require the ability of users to complete purchases on the website in order to function. Likewise, a critical function for a financial institution might involve the ability to transmit electronic transaction data securely.
Additionally, a disaster plan should document the body of assets upon which those functions rely. This might include:
- Intranet or internal servers
- Cash registers
- Customer or patient records
Make plans to evacuate, recover, replace or back up each.
3. Create Emergency Response Policies and Procedures
The response to an emergency or disaster hinges on several factors, including what the law requires businesses to do. Document the correct procedures for responses clearly, in an easy to read format. Include instructions regarding evacuation procedures, who to contact, where to go, and what steps to take to reduce damage or loss of life.
Nashville managed IT services can provide a major advantage during emergency response. During an emergency, a managed IT provider can provide additional support in responding to and mitigating threats to data. This frees up employees and personnel to address more pressing concerns such as evacuating a facility.
4. Document Backup and Restoration Processes
Draft procedures to create backup operations prior to a disaster as well as policies regarding data recovery. This should include alternative methods to store and access data in the event that some infrastructure becomes compromised.
Managed IT services can help tremendously in this situation as well. Many businesses already leverage cloud services for critical backups for data recovery, a highly recommended strategy.
Managed IT providers support this through frequent backups and keeping backups available should the need arise. In the event of a disaster, a managed IT provider will also be far more organized, and able to step in and help its clients succeed in recovery.
5. Perform Routine Tests and Exercises
Making routine tests and exercises a part of the disaster planning process will benefit the recovery process immensely. Exercising a recovery plan reduces the amount of time employees take enacting it because they will already know what to do.
Testing also helps carefully examine each step of a plan to ensure that it will actually perform as needed. An organization can find out exactly what will go wrong with their plan before it needs to work.
Managed IT services can also help with stress testing a recovery plan by conducting frequent audits and reviews. Companies experiencing rapid growth and change will find this especially valuable. Risks change as businesses change, demanding the need for a recovery plan which can accommodate more variables and unknowns.
Nashville Flood: May 2010
Nine years ago, Nashville was brought to its knees after being struck by devastating floods. Over the course of three days, torrential rainfall led to flooding that affected the area for several months, resulting in a number of deaths and widespread property damage. Rainfall exceeded 19 inches, the highest amount in more than 140 years of recorded history. Some areas accumulated 13 inches of rain within 36 hours. The Cumberland River crested to 52 feet, marking a height that hadn’t been seen since 1937 (53.9 feet).
With the floods drenching the city, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce reported 2,773 impacted businesses (14,499 workers) at the time of the flood.
During the aftermath and recovery of the Nashville Flood, RJ Young worked with companies whose office equipment had been damaged. RJ Young loaned them what they needed to keep their operations going, so these businesses had more flexibility to deal with insurance companies to get back up and running. RJ Young also provided their own conference space to one law firm, supplying a stable office environment for their attorneys to work. The firm’s building had so much standing water, they could not get into their offices.
The RJ Young family worked closely with all customers affected by the flood, ensuring they had all of the necessary information they’d need to work through insurance claims as smoothly as possible.
Do Not Leave Recovery to Chance — Plan Ahead
Well-managed IT services keep a business prepared for the worst. Whether there is a dramatic natural disaster or squirrels quietly chewing through power lines, an organization’s survival hinges on its ability to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.
Get started with backup and disaster recovery protection with a disaster recovery plan for an organization’s IT infrastructure, contact us to speak with an expert today.
While high importance is placed on business threats such as phishing scams and security breaches, one of the most significant threats to companies is often overlooked. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and flooding cause significant damage that most businesses are unable to recover from. Though natural disasters of significant size may be infrequent, when they hit, they can cause irreparable damage to unprepared businesses. FEMA recently reported that 40 percent of small businesses hit by natural disasters fail to recover from them. Some of these companies could have remained in business if their disaster recovery plans had included managed IT services. These management services for businesses include a pre-emptive set of strategies that help keep networks running and minimize recovery time.
Remote Data Centers
Natural disasters put buildings and their contents in jeopardy. Disasters such as the 2010 Nashville, Tennessee flood or the 2011 Huntsville, Alabama tornados, can devastate business facilities. Hurricanes and fires can devastate everything from equipment and documents to the very infrastructure of the building. An easy way to ensure documents in the building are safe is with remote data centers. These data centers are provided alongside managed IT services and allow documents to be remotely stored digitally. Not only do these services provide remote monitoring of data, they can digitally back up all documents from their remote data centers. If a company neglects to have digital copies of vital documents, they stand minimal chance of re-opening their business after a natural disaster. These remote data centers guarantee that documents are secure following such disasters.
Cloud Storage & Mobile Accessibility
Along with data being backed up remotely, another managed IT feature that helps protect data is cloud storage. When documents are digitized and placed in the cloud, they can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any mobile device. Though cloud storage may not have the capacity that the remote data centers possess, it is a great tool for storing files that are needed on a regular basis. Immediately following a disaster, managed IT’s cloud storage alleviates the stress of being unable to go into an office space to get documents and continue working. With managed IT’s mobile accessibility, employees can access their work remotely from their mobile devices, ensuring that the company does not fall behind due to uncontrollable circumstances.
Rapid Response Rate
When a company utilizes the services of a managed IT provider, they acquire an entire team of network experts. The disaster recovery services, offered by the provider, are put in place well before a disaster. When these systems are in place, the expert team is able to respond to any network threat rapidly. This minimizes network downtime and mitigates the chance of losing data. After a disaster occurs, the last thing a business needs to struggle with is fixing network problems. With managed IT services, businesses have a dedicated group of experts, whose sole task is to fix the network. This reduces network downtime and allows businesses to focus on repairing other problems such as infrastructure damage.
Learn More About Protecting Your Business
Discover how RJ Young’s Managed IT Services help prevent data loss and give you peace of mind during natural disasters. To discuss how RJ Young can create a disaster recovery strategy tailored to your business, fill out our contact form or give us a call at 800-347-1955.
We are halfway through 2018 and RJ Young is ready to help you meet all of your business resolutions that you may have forgotten about this year. Over the last few months, we have helped businesses identify ten ways to simplify their business, from outsourced IT services to having a one-stop shop for your office technology needs. Make 2018 the year you simplify your printing, technology needs, and improve your back up and disaster recovery methods.
Is your business ready for a disaster?
Resolution: Backup and Disaster Recovery
RJ Young felt the unexpected impact of a massive fire in March of 1998. Consequently, we understand what it’s like to lose everything and have to start over from scratch. FEMA says that more than 40% of businesses that encounter a disaster never reopen, and of those that do, only 29% were open two years later.
We survived our fire, and because of that experience, we are the best partner your business could have in preparing for disasters. Click here to read more in-depth about our fire disaster and how we used back up and disaster recovery to save important documents.
What Recovery Services Does RJ Young Offer to Help My Business Prepare for a Disaster?
RJ Young is prepared to help you prepare for a backup and disaster recovery scenario. You can trust us to help develop proactive backup solutions to increase your data protection and keep your business safe from the unfathomable. Additionally, here are some of the ways RJ Young can help you secure your critical business documents:
- Scanning Services
Replacing paper files with PDFs and digital documents can lead to more than just clearing up the clutter in the office. Furthermore, our customer support team will design a scanner plan and ensure that your equipment continues to run optimally. Another way to utilize our scanners is to scan all of your documents into your Document Management System.
- Don’t Have a DMS?
RJ Young can help you set up a customized Document Management System for your business, increasing your business continuity and ensuring that your critical documents are accessible anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.
- Supporting Copy
- Store Your Backups Offsite
In a business world that is rapidly changing, it is important to make yourself readily available. With RJ Young’s Managed IT Services, you can have an automatic offsite backup and disaster recovery solution for all of your critical files and systems. These offsite solutions include cloud backup solutions, public clouds, data recovery services, and solutions, and data protection.
What Kinds of Documents Should I Backup Offsite?
You know what you need to run your business and protecting those critical documents should be a top priority. You should have offsite data backups for documents including:
- Tax records
- Tax Identification Documents
- Employee Records
- Historical Financial Information
- Legal Agreements
- Customer Records
- And more
Transform Your Documents
You can trust RJ Young to manage the most critical components of your business – your files. Records, contracts, financial documents and more are safe from fires, floods and other disasters when they are digitally backed up offsite. Learn more about how RJ Young can help you transform your paper documents into digital files.
When natural disaster is looming, residents flock to their local stores to stock up on the essentials and prepare for what is to come. Bread aisles become as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, gas stations quickly run out of gas and generators are worth their weight in gold. At the same time, other folks are forced to grab those things most important to them and evacuate.
In a potential disaster, after the obvious valuables, what would you pack? Most experts will tell you the two most important things are sensitive documents and sentimental items such as photographs, which are often the most missed of all things lost in a disaster. In a pinch, packing your car or SUV with everything important to you could be a daunting task, especially given the limited amount of time and space one likely has. For a family of four, fitting filing cabinets of important papers and many albums of cherished photographs into even a large SUV is just not an option. But consider how much more you could fit and save had you begun scanning all of this information and storing it digitally.
Today, businesses can move away from paper based filing systems by providing a document management solution to scan mission critical paper and manage it digitally with full backup. Many organizations do so to guard against potential loss from fire, flood, hurricane and other natural disasters. This same practice can easily be extended to our personal sensitive and sentimental items. Scanning birth certificates, social security cards, financial records and the albums of photographs make the preparation for these situations easier. Store important information on cloud based storage giving you peace of mind that information is copied and backed up.
Tripp Lewis, Software Sales Specialist
Tripp is a Software Specialist and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. With an extensive 15 background in technology solutions, he is continually aware of new industry trends and emerging technologies that affect productivity, efficiency and revenue. Tripp is based at the Jackson, Mississippi location.
Disaster recovery did not take hold until the mid-to-late 1970s as it became obvious companies were more dependent on their IT infrastructure. The backbone was now the way they captured, stored and managed data and information from customers, clients, vendors, and strategic partners. For the most part, this data was stored on a locally residing storage device within the company’s data center. As a result, a disaster recovery plan was not as essential as it is today.
Disaster Recovery Plans Become Essential
As both natural and man-made disasters became newsworthy, companies were quick to realize the risks that were present if these occurrences were to affect their businesses. News of many of the natural disasters was almost appearing daily in newspapers as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes were highlighted. At the same time, there was an escalation of the man-made disasters, which included data breaches and cyber crimes being perpetrated by outside influences and—in some cases—even internal employees.
Disaster Recovery Costs Are Staggering
Statistics tell us of the businesses that suffer a major loss of business data, 43% will never recover and 29% will close within two years of the disaster. The statistics are staggering and suggested that an unplanned downtime can cost up to $17,244 per minute, with a low-end estimate of $926 per minute. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that only 28% of the businesses make it past the initial disaster and are still in business after two years.
Minimizing Disaster Impact
What can be done by companies when dealing with disaster recovery? Here are three approaches:
Controls aimed at preventing an event from occurring, which follows the thinking an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This measure consists of offsite storage, back up and cloud applications that are remote—and therefore, do not reside within the business.
Measures that provide controls aimed at detecting or discovering unwanted events before they can happen. This measure assures sound continuous monitoring of network and firewalls resistant to breaches.
Corrective measures include controls aimed at correcting or restoring the system after a disaster or an event.
With a well-written disaster recovery plan in place, the odds of a company making a complete recovery are greatly enhanced and provide peace of mind. A disaster recovery plan should include a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery or the continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems. It is best to partner with an IT provider to develop a sound plan that fits the type of business in which the company engages. Each plan should be customized to take into consideration the various types of disasters whether natural—or man-made.
Hunter McCarty, Chief Operating Officer
Hunter McCarty joined RJ Young in 1978. Hunter is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and has served as both a member and president of the Board of Sales and Marketing Executives. Hunter is also a board member of the Copier Dealer Association, on the Canon Dealer Advisory Council and on the Lexmark Advisory Board. In his free time, Hunter enjoys traveling, golf, and Tennessee Titans football. He and his wife, Carol Lynn, reside in Franklin, TN, and have three grown children.
To learn more about disaster recovery and our Managed IT Services, please contact RJ Young today.