Planning for failure might not sound like the most glamorous business process of all, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare your organization for any eventuality. Most business leaders understand the importance of backup, but not everyone realizes it’s just one element of a disaster recovery (DR) strategy.
Here are five things that every DR plan should include:
1. Threat and risk analyses
Every organization faces a unique set of security challenges, and that’s why disaster recovery needs to be tailored to your specific operating environment. That means having complete visibility into all your business processes and systems. You can start by creating an inventory of every device, platform, and service that your business relies on to carry out its daily routines.
Once you’ve inventoried your entire operating environment, you’ll be ready to identify the risks and vulnerabilities affecting each component. You’ll also need to anticipate the most likely scenarios, such as cyberattacks and natural disasters common in your area.
Finally, to lay the foundation for setting your DR priorities, you’ll need to conduct a business impact analysis.
2. Regular testing and refinement
If you don’t take the time and effort to test your plan, then you might as well not have one at all. Dealing with disaster is not a time for learning—it’s a time for implementing a plan that minimizes the long-term damage to your business as much as possible.
Although you can test different portions of your DR plan separately, you should still carry out a thorough test of the whole plan at least every year or after major system updates. In any case, you should remember to approach disaster recovery as a constantly evolving process that sees regular refinement.
3. Centralized document management
Documents and digital data are the most valuable assets of any modern business, which is why it’s imperative that you incorporate document management into your DR plan. Imagine the consequences of losing your contracts, legal documents, and other mission-critical files to a fire.
Implementing a centralized document management system that keeps a copy of all your data safely hosted in the cloud is by far the most effective way of keeping these essential assets safe. This way, you’ll have access to your company’s apps and data no matter where you are, even if your regular workplace is out of commission.
4. The human element
One of the most common mistakes business leaders make when it comes to disaster recovery is neglecting the human element. Ultimately, it’s not just about recovering data and getting your apps and services back up and running; it’s also about having your employees know how to respond to a disaster.
Your disaster-response plan is a critical element of your DR strategy, since it creates an environment of accountability and defines the responsibilities of your staff and any third parties you work with, such as cloud providers and hardware vendors.
Ensure that you have a complete and up-to-date list of emergency contacts, and that your employees know who to contact and what to say when there is a crisis.
5. Disaster-recovery objectives
For many organizations, a disaster recovery strategy is a complex and multifaceted process consisting of many moving parts. That’s why you need to start with a rock-solid foundation so that you can determine your objectives and prioritize each step of the process.
This is where your recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) come in.
These key metrics define how much data you can afford to lose and how much time it should take to recover your systems respectively. You’ll probably want to assign different values to different systems based on their importance. For example, an extended period of downtime might not be a major issue for a marketing resource, but it could present disaster for something critical like a network security system.
PairSoft is a fully cloud-enabled document management system that goes a long way toward protecting your business from disaster while also helping you make sure you’re sticking to your compliance obligations. Call us today to learn more.