Unexpected events happen in the world all the time. As a business owner, you should consider it best practice to take steps to prevent avoidable business interruptions and put plans in place to deal with unexpected issues. But just because you have a disaster recovery plan, doesn’t mean it’s the right plan or that it will work when put to the test. Disaster recovery planning is a complex and time-consuming task, which is one of the reasons a lot of businesses don’t do it thoroughly, if at all. Make sure you’re avoiding mistakes like these, which can turn your recovery process into an even bigger disaster.
- Not having an automated backup process: The rest of your recovery plan will be a moot point if the data you are saving is old, corrupted or incomplete. Relying solely on your IT staff to routinely back up information is risky, especially at smaller businesses where the IT person often wears multiple hats. By automating the process and keeping those backups at a remote storage location, you can be certain that when it comes time to restore your business, you’re minimizing data loss as much as possible.
- Not adapting your disaster recovery plan as your business scales: Perhaps you consider yourself ahead of the curve, as you already have a disaster recovery plan in place (with automated backups, of course). But how old is that plan? How big was your business when that plan was constructed? Technology changes at a rapid pace, and what may have been a viable solution back when you adopted it could be obsolete now. On top of that, what may have worked for a 10-user company with only basic applications won’t suffice for a business that has scaled to 50 users and has a complex infrastructure. Essentially, you should consider your recovery plan out of date as soon as your applications, staff and hardware change. This is why it's vital to review and update the plan on a regular and frequent basis.
- Not involving your staff: The “planning” stage of disaster recovery is just as important as the plan itself. Key staff members, both internal employees and third parties, need to be part of the creation process and agree on prioritization. Consult them about what they see as being most important – having all areas of your business represented will allow you to determine what components of your business network are absolutely imperative to keep your business functioning. Make sure the plan is documented so everyone can understand what needs to happen and when.
- Not testing your plan: Don’t forget to test, test, test! Being in the middle of a crisis that involves data being compromised or lost is not the time to realize that your recovery plan is flawed. Just because your plan looks good on paper, that does not mean it works. Testing frequently ensures that your staff members get familiar with procedures and what they are expected to do. It will also help you discover things you may have overlooked.
Disaster recovery plans are not just an option anymore, they’re a necessity. To protect yourself and minimize your business’ costs, credibility and data loss, make sure you’re avoiding these common mistakes.
The goal of this blog is to answer the questions you ask! Catch up on our other blogs covering disaster recovery and business continuity, with more to come each month. We've also made planning for your business easy! Click the link to access our FREE disaster recovery plan template so you can always be prepared for the unexpected!