“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Not to discount Alan Lakein, but your business’ IT strategy also needs to plan for failure. All things fall apart at some point, so it’s important to have a comprehensive plan in place to deal with failures that will come eventually.
Here are five main areas you need to have a recovery plan in place for when creating your IT disaster recovery plan.
A backup power supply is an essential part of your server room equipment. How much power you need will depend on how long you want to be able to use your server room in the event of a power outage.
Most power supply units for small businesses will give you just enough time to gracefully shut down your equipment. A power outage has the potential to severely damage hardware. It is also a great idea to have backup equipment ready to replace anything that has failed, such as a firewall that is already configured, or a new switch waiting in the wings.
Recovering from a hardware failure will likely happen at some point in your business. Anything from the entire machine or just a small part of a device can fail. You must plan for this to happen because it most certainly will. The extent of your plan will be up to you. You can usually figure out how much you want to spend by calculating how much money your business will lose by being down.
If being down will cost your business $10k a day, then spending $1000 a month for a failover solution should be a no brainer. There are many cloud options that will allow you to be back up and running in minutes as you move over to the backup server. There are cheaper options that won’t be nearly as quick but shouldn’t make you lose any data.
Failover internet connections are almost becoming standard in any business. Most companies rely on an internet connection to do a majority of their business. Without a reliable connection, you are dead in the water. Typically, your failover service wouldn’t need to be as robust as your regular service since you don’t want to pay double for your internet connection when the main service usually works just fine.
There are a couple different aspects to this. First is to make sure you have installation discs or license keys in a safe location that can be accessed at any time. If for any reason you need to install the software in a completely new location due to any type of failure, you should be able to do so.
The second aspect is a bit complex. If you are using a cloud-based application, and the business website goes down, such as when the AWS outage took out Trello and IFTTT, there is not much you can do. If your business relies on a specific application, what happens when that company goes out of business, or they have failures of their own.
When you are subject to another business, you should definitely have a backup plan or service in the wings ready to pick up where the other company dropped the ball. Never completely trust another organization with your critical business functions.
Good backups are the most critical part of your disaster recovery plan. Storage is fairly inexpensive, so frequent backups should be part of the plan. You should be running backups multiple times throughout the day.
Don’t rely on one backup system. Backing up using two different services on two different platforms is a great way to make sure your data remains secure. Regularly backup your data through any third-party software application you may be running (especially email).
Ask yourself: If the company suddenly lost all data or went out of business, what would you need to do to get back on track?
Making sure you have these five bases covered will guarantee you will be ready when disaster strikes. Put your plan in place today and make sure to practice your disaster recovery plan at least once a year. Finding out where the weak points are before a disaster hits will be a huge benefit to your organization.
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