In today’s marketplace, IT disaster recovery has become a must have for all businesses regardless of size. Your company will be at perpetual risk of closure for as long as its data recovery strategy remains vague and tentative. The last thing you want is to lose everything you spent years to build simply because you did not sufficiently invest in disaster recovery procedures.
When floods hit Louisiana in August 2016, they left unimaginable devastation and destroyed 20,000 businesses. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this was a 1 in 500-year event, the most destructive flood event to take place in the United States since the 2012’s devastating Superstorm Sandy.
In the 20,000 businesses that the floods destroyed, a good number of them had not put in place a disaster recovery plan. Consequently, the result of the floods on these businesses would be hampered growth and, possibly, getting out of business.
Before the flood event in Louisiana, it would probably have been hard to convince entrepreneurs that they should be prepared for such an event. Yet, regardless of the low probability of such a flood taking place, it did, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
Having a plan when disaster strikes ensures you get back to your normal business operations in the shortest possible time. For small businesses, a downtime of one hour costs $8000. This figure jumps to $74,000 for medium-sized businesses and $700,000 for large corporations.
Every time your business records downtime, you will experience three types of losses:
- Losing sales
- Loss of productivity
- Losses as a result of damage to your company reputation
To keep these losses at a bare minimum, and recover within a time framework that would not destroy your business, you must have put in place a robust disaster recovery plan.
Available statistics paint a gloomy picture of the state of disaster preparedness in companies around the world. The 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey showed that 3 of every 4 businesses (PDF) are inadequately prepared for a disaster.
DRBenchmark has a free survey you can take to find out your business organization’s disaster recovery preparedness.
Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan
There are many benefits to having a clearly defined disaster recovery plan. Firms that stay ready for any eventuality are more likely to succeed than those that could be wiped out after a major disaster takes place. Here are a number of reasons why disaster recovery planning is worth your while.
Revenue generation and productivity
A recovery plan makes it possible for your business to continue generating revenue and makes sure your employees continue to be productive
Disasters and unforeseen happenings can bring your business to a halt. Disaster recovery plans help businesses to continue making sales. It also ensures that employees’ productivity continues unabated.
Preserves company’s reputation
In addition to the financial drain that disasters inflict on your company, they also ruin your reputation. When a disaster strikes, your company’s ability to stay afloat determines how suppliers, business partners, and customers view your business.
How prepared your business is to deal with a disaster has a significant impact on the willingness of these groups to do business with you. When disaster strikes, your business may be unable to meet set deadlines. This could anger and frustrate your customers. In fact, sometimes it can result in a lawsuit against your business.
Helps retain customers
When your customers show up at your doors only to find a disaster has brought your operations to a halt, they find themselves looking for an alternative. Some of these customers may never come back to your business even after you resume operations.
The more downtime your business records, the more likely that your customers will start sourcing the products and services you offer from your business rivals. Well laid out disaster recovery solutions make sure that your business retains its customers.
A Disaster Recovery Plan That Works
For many, disaster recovery planning means backing up company data off-site. Yet, this is only a part of what disaster recovery is all about. In planning for a disaster, you must satisfactorily answer these two questions:
- How much downtime can your business afford? – This is what is referred to as Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
- How much data can your business afford to lose? – This is what is referred to as Recovery Point Objective.
Use these two questions to create disaster recovery procedures that will get your business running even when the worst comes knocking.
How to Know If Your Disaster Recovery Strategy Is Good Enough
In creating a disaster recovery plan template, you should have a disaster recovery plan checklist. You know your business is well prepared for a disaster if:
- You know precisely the magnitude of disaster that your disaster recovery plan and backups can handle
- You test your backups regularly
- The deployment process for your server includes restoring from backups
- You can completely rebuild your business working environment after a disaster
- Your disaster recovery process is well scripted
- Your disaster recovery plan scripts are validated regularly and tested daily, weekly or monthly.
- Your disaster recovery plan is well documented, making it possible for anyone to implement it.
For most businesses, the easiest way to stay prepared for a disaster is by hiring a disaster recovery solutions provider. Find a DR expert who can design your business disaster recovery procedures that can stand the test of time.
Hire an expert who knows how to effectively implement systems, policies, and practices that can handle every DR scenario you are worried about. After all, what is a disaster recovery plan if it cannot keep your business running when what you feared most takes place?