8 Steps to a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

8 Steps to a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

Everything is gone. Everything your team has worked on over the past year – poof. How? It could be one of a thousand different things, really. Maybe a tree fell on your office. Maybe cybercriminals hacked into your server. Maybe you deleted the master folder by accident? How it happened won’t change what happened.

Now what?

You reach out to your IT department. You call your boss. Everyone scrambles. This can amount to little more than begging and pleading with IT to magically recover the lost files.

Then, just when you think all hope it lost, you get a notification from IT – they recovered the files! It turns out someone moved the master folder by accident. Phew! False alarm. That said…

Maybe now is the time to draft up that Disaster Recovery Plan for your organization. Next time you might not get so lucky.

Why Plan It Out?

Gone are the days of the filing cabinet. Instead, we have our data bundled up in the magnificent cloud, or if you’re old school, your hard drive. Most organizations have their data backed up already, which is great. But back-ups are only part of the solution.

What happens if your backups fail or become compromised? What happens if the disaster isn’t digital?

Downtime and data loss. That’s what.

From 2019-2022, 96% of organizations experienced at least one incidence of downtime. And you’d better believe downtime is costly – extremely costly, in fact. Having a Disaster Recovery Plan allows you and your business to execute a concise and efficient plan to retrieve your data and end detrimental downtime.

Working without a Disaster Recovery Plan is like driving without your seatbelt. You may never get in an accident. You may be a perfect driver. But you’re going to wish you strapped that belt on when the stuff hits the proverbial fan.

Okay, so Disaster Recovery Plans are important. No one wants downtime, and no one wants to lose sensitive data. But where do you even start?

Planning Your Plan

Formulating a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan can seem daunting. Below, we’ve provided several steps to help design a plan you can rely on when disaster strikes.

1. Document Everything

Create a detailed inventory that covers all hardware, software, data and network resources. From there, rank each asset based on importance allowing for a comprehensive understanding of all of your assets.

2. Form Your Dream Team

Forming a Disaster Recovery Team (through your IT provider, or trained employees) will help define roles and responsibilities during a dreaded disaster. Here you should note emergency contacts for a disaster.

3. Know Your Risks

From natural disasters to cyberattacks and all the way down to human error, risks to you and your business are everywhere. Note down all potential risk and their severity. It is important to keep this list updated as your organization and data evolve overtime.

4. Define your Recovery Objectives

  • Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) indicates the maximum time your business can be down before any significant consequences.
  • Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) is the maximum amount of data loss your business can suffer. Here is where you will implement data back-up software indicating your preferred back-up frequencies and recovery preferences.

(You can read more about RTO and RPO at Amazon Web Services.)

5. Create Clear Lines of Communication

Without proper communication, all your rigorous planning will blow away in the chaos of a disaster event. To avoid confusion, make sure everyone knows their personal responsibilities. All pertinent information should be available to all necessary employees, vendors, and customers during times of crisis. Don’t forget to utilize social media to convey the situation to clients.

6. Get Back-Up and Running

It’s essential that you have your data backed up in case of data loss during a disaster. A strong backup strategy is the 3-2-1-1 method as it’s been proven to be a powerful tool in keeping your data safe from cyberattacks such as ransomware. Here at The 20 MSP, we use Datto backup software to protect organizations from data loss.

7. Prevention > Intervention

The best solution to any disaster is proper training. This is doubly true regarding cyberattacks. Many cyberattacks stem from employee behaviors – or misbehaviors, rather. In fact, research from Stanford found that around 88% of all breaches are caused by an employee mistake. It only takes one employee to fall for one of the many different internet scams targeting businesses. Any Disaster Recovery Plan worth its salt will prioritize cybersecurity awareness and training.

8. Update, Update, Update

Developing a comprehensive plan is great, but the digital landscape is evolving at breakneck speeds. Without scheduled updates and constant testing, your comprehensive plan will end up in the recycling bin.

In Summary

Disasters threaten valuable business data and precious time. Without a well-crafted – and rigorously tested – Disaster Recovery Plan, your business is one unfortunate event away from a catastrophe, or even permanent closure. 

Partnering with an experienced MSP like The 20 not only gives your organization around-the-clock top-notch IT support for a flat rate, but also, access to a robust Disaster Recovery Plan to help you bounce back quickly and efficiently when disaster strikes. 

Here’s our very own Bill Butler with more. 


Need Help with Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

If you need help forming your ownDisaster Recovery Plan,The20 MSP is here for you. Our experience and expertise can help you secure your livelihood in the face of cyberattacks, natural disasters, and other disruptive events.  

Get in touch with The 20 MSP and schedule your call today.