3 Steps to an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

disaster recovery plan

via Business Bee

When it comes to information technology, “disaster recovery” doesn’t start when the disaster strikes. In fact, the most effective way to deal with a disaster is proactively. By creating a disaster recovery plan in advance, you’ll be well positioned to mitigate potential damage – and bounce back faster – when the inevitable occurs, whether it be a natural disaster or a catastrophic system issue.

Creating a disaster recovery plan could very well save not only your data, but your company itself. According to Symantec, half of all small businesses would lose 40 percent of their data when disaster strikes. And 70 percent of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks of a catastrophic data loss, according to Coopers & Lybrand.

Begin creating a watertight disaster recovery plan for your critical documents and information with these three steps, and soften the blow when Mother Nature – or the IT gods – get unpredictable.

1. Protect Your People
This first step goes well beyond IT. Your people always take priority, so having a clear communications plan and chain of command will keep them safe in the event of a disaster – and prevent a negative event from becoming a tragedy.
Having a phone tree or other procedure that includes everyone from management to each department’s team members will allow everyone in the company to be in the know should an emergency occur. Designate exactly who is expected to come into the office if there is a severe weather warning or emergency, and codify a way of contacting all employees in such an event. Consider establishing a safety committee charged with reviewing and maintaining the disaster procedures on a regular basis.

2. Digitize Your Data
Paper files are immensely vulnerable to nearly every kind of disaster – natural and man-made. Fires, floods and storms can gut a company’s hard-copy assets in no time. That means storing documents digitally is an absolute must.
Of course, simply keeping a disorganized digital archive isn’t enough. Your goal is to get back to work, after all – not just to “have stuff.” Easily searchable document management systems like Cabinet SAFE are ideal in this scenario; there’s no paper to be destroyed, and workflows can be maintained regardless of the circumstances.

3. Be Redundant
All that said, most digital document management systems rely on physical hardware (a server) that is itself vulnerable to disaster. That’s why a backup – particularly an offsite backup – is essential.
Your easiest bet in this regard is using a cloud-based document management system, like Cabinet SAFE CLOUD. In the best of these cloud-based systems, the company managing the cloud environment handles redundancy for you … there’s essentially zero risk of catastrophic data loss. As a bonus, your documents are accessible anywhere, making it simple to get back to work even if your office is inaccessible.
If you need on premise document management software installed on your own servers, you can usually work with your vendor to create a second, offsite backup. This will protect you whether your disaster is a failed hard drive or burst pipe.

Be Disaster Ready
Disasters are never fun to think about. Cabinet knows from personal experience how devastating a disaster can be; an exceptionally severe tornado season put our own disaster recovery plan to the test in 2011.

But, if you don’t plan ahead, “disaster recovery” might not even be possible. Keep your folks safe, keep critical information off paper and keep a backup. It won’t stop the next fire, flood, hurricane or tornado, but it might just save your business.

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