17Oct

Natural and manmade disasters are unpredictable, so every small business must plan for the worst and hope for the best. Disaster recovery has many moving parts intended to keep a business operational, but it essentially comes down to protecting people, processes, technology and data. To effectively start the process, here are six tips for putting your disaster recovery plan into place.For more details please visit at IT Services in Houston

1. Involve Everyone in the Disaster Recovery Plan Process 

Regardless of the size of your small business workforce, it’s important to involve everyone in the information gathering, planning development, implementation, and testing phases of the disaster recovery plan. While internal IT will play a central role, some people will take on specific roles to coordinate plan execution and make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go. Other factors like coordinating with third-party vendors and outside clients will fall to specific people as well. 

2. Conduct an Asset Inventory

Effective disaster recovery planning should start with creating a list of all your IT assets including all computers, servers, storage devices, applications, data, network switches and appliances, and access points. This process requires mapping the physical location of each asset and its interconnection dependencies. 

Although your internal IT would head this process, it will require support from the workforce to expedite it and ensure that no device is missed. This will form the basis for carrying out the risk assessment, which is the next crucial step in the recovery plan.

3. Conduct a Risk Assessment

Once all assets have been listed, you can begin the process of an IT infrastructure assessment/risk assessment to detect technology system abnormalities and provides ongoing monitoring of backup systems for post-disaster correction. You should ideally look to the support of a firm with expertise in this area to manage the process. A managed services consultant with IT risk assessment expertise can bring the crucial objectivity and the experience from countless risk scenarios and real-world vulnerability identification to bear. For further information visit at IT Services in Houston.

4. Prioritize Data and Applications for Backup Management

 While all applications and data are important to the business, it’s not all critical to keeping a business running during a disaster (business continuity) or restore normal operations after a disaster has passed. You’ll need to consider what is vital to getting the business up and running as quickly as possible to identify the high impact items. The 3-2-1 rule has been a foundational approach to backing up data and applications for disaster recovery for a long time. The rule states you should always:  

  • Have three copies of your data
  • Use two different types of storage
  • Store at least one copy of your data offsite

 That’s become less of a challenge in the cloud era where public, private and hybrid cloud storage as well as Software as a Service (SaaS) are commonly used by all types of businesses. A Network Attached Storage system (NAS) can provide onsite storage of critical data, but it should back up to the cloud and be regularly updated. The cloud backup should have enough geographic distance from your business to avoid complications from the same area disaster. Infrequently used or archive data can be stored on tape or disk in an off-site location that provides access and security measures.Now visit IT Services in Houston

 5. Define Your Recovery Objectives

You must decide what applications and data access is needed to keep the business running in the moments, hours, and days after a disaster. This is known as the recovery time objective. Data recovery will also have to stretch back to a specific point in time that it was being produced, which is known as the recovery point objective. To decide on these factors, you’ll have to look at applications and the data to answer the following disaster recovery(IT Services in Houston) planning questions: 

  • How often does your workforce produce new data associated with each application?
  • How fast do you need each application and the data from its use back up and running?
  • What is your tolerance for downtime for each? 
  • What is your tolerance for data loss for each?
  • When are applications and data not being accessed?
  • Would you need to restore data that is more than 90 days old?
  • What are the regulatory requirements affecting your data regarding security and encryption, geographical restrictions on storage and time periods for retention?

The key is understanding business needs  so you can provide a differentiated level of service availability based on priority. 

6. Test, Practice and Refine.

According to a recent Spiceworks survey, nearly one in four companies never test their disaster recovery plan. Once the plan is written, approved and implemented, you’ll need to regularly test it (simulated disaster) to make sure it will work when it’s needed. 

With all the moving parts in a disaster recovery, many small businesses turn to an experienced third party that has the expertise in creating customized backup and disaster recovery services. With proper support, planning and testing, your small business can create a proactive disaster recovery plan that protects the present and future of your business.