The stakes are rarely higher for your business than when you’re dealing with IT disaster recovery. For many companies in the 21st century, their business is driven by data. If that data disappears, that could very well mean the end.

From construction companies losing all the addresses, numbers and various other tidbits of info about their clients to a newsletter business losing its mailing lists, very few companies can survive without data. And that makes the formulation of a business disaster recovery plan potentially one of the most important things you’ll do for your company.

When looking over disaster recovery best practices, and even security best practices, there are number of ways that you can ensure that your disaster recovery solutions are up to snuff. After all, there’s no room for second chances when dealing with massive data corruption, destruction, theft, etc. If that data is gone without a disaster recovery action plan, then it’s gone forever.

Think of disaster recovery planning as insurance: 99% of the time, you won’t need it. But if you do need it and don’t have it ready, the results could be catastrophic.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some ways to make sure that your recovery after disaster won’t fall apart and make sure that your plan is one that succeeds.

Expect the unexpected

When dealing with disaster recovery, it’s easy to be caught up in the realm of the high-tech. After all, this is IT disaster recovery we’re talking about. But sometimes the problem isn’t a virus or a hacker or some technical glitch, sometimes the problem is mother nature herself.

Consider that during a hurricane with a wide-enough impact radius, your on-site storage could be at risk of water damage, and that includes your physical backups. Hurricane Sandy or Katrina levels of devastation can absolutely wreak havoc on a data centre, meaning that the method you previously thought was impervious to destruction is now half-under water.

There are several solutions to this specific scenario, like having a mobile storage spot or taking advantage of cloud disaster recovery (more on that below), but the point is that the reason a lot of disaster recovery plans fail is that they don’t plan for all eventualities.

Take advantage of new technology

Technology is always advancing and therefore providing newer disaster recovery solutions. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to protecting your data is thinking that your current system will always be able to do the job.

As the tech landscape changes, so too do the demands of data recovery and the availability of programs to fill those demands.

Take, for instance, the Cloud. By no means a cutting-edge technology, the Cloud still provides users with disaster recovery services which can, at times, be better suited for your company.

For instance, as mentioned in the weather example, having localized on-site backup information can be great, but then there’s always the outside chance that a fire or natural disaster or any number of other unforeseen events could occur and totally trash your disaster recovery plan.

With Cloud disaster recovery, the data is stored online meaning that no flood or break-in could destroy your backed-up data.

But the Cloud is by no means perfect. One of the biggest drawbacks is that in order to upload the terabytes of data your company may want to back up, you’re going to need extremely fast internet to not only put the data on the Cloud, but also retrieve said data in the event that you need to make use of the disaster recovery system.

Which just goes to show that there is no such thing as a perfect solution for all situations. Instead, know what your business needs and find the best possible program to fulfill those needs. And, as always, keep an eye on new and developing tech.

. . . But don’t be afraid of low-tech solutions

Well emerging technology is by definition more exciting based solely on its newness, there is something to be said for good low-tech solutions.

For instance, coming back to the battle between Cloud and on-site storage, an on-site system can absolutely work, and even be manageable in the event of a natural disaster. For instance, if you construct your back-up storage in such a way so as to be highly mobile, then you might now need to bother with the Cloud. And if your internet speed is not up to snuff to handle the reams of data that would have to be transferred back and forth from the Cloud, then these types of workarounds like having a mobile, physical storage site might be the best thing for you and your company.

Beware of Humans

And this goes both ways. Beware of hackers, sure, but also make sure your staff is well-trained. If they use their own devices at home to access the company technology, make sure they have the appropriate security measures in place to protect your company.

After all, it only takes one mistake to let an assailant in to your network, and maybe even into your back-up files. With that sort of access, ransomware could absolutely wreak havoc on your company and put you in a bind both physically and financially. These types of attacks are something that industries like healthcare have struggled with.

Hurricane’s are scary, but the human element can sometimes be ever more dangerous to your business and your data.

Test everything!

One of the best ways to ensure that your system is ready to handle whatever may come is to test it.

Make sure that whatever disaster recovery solution you did choose holds up under scrutiny and will keep your data protected in every circumstance. While it is impossible to be ready for every possible outcome, putting your disaster recovery system through the appropriate dry runs will show you the vulnerabilities and holes that exist in your current setup.

There’s no way to guarantee that your system will be ready for everything the world throws at it, but at least with a rigorous and thorough slate of tests, you can be comfortable knowing how your disaster recovery system will perform in any given circumstance.

Posted by Rod DeVos

Rod DeVos is the Founder and President of Resolute Technology Solutions Inc. Resolute provides services from IT consulting to application and technology services. They use proven methodologies combined with real-world business experience to help businesses succeed and grow.