Preparing for the unexpected – is your disaster planning up to date?
Posted 12 Oct 2020
When it comes to technology and IT systems, it’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected. Businesses these days are often completely reliant upon IT software, from basic emails through to full-scale production lines. But if something were to happen to your IT infrastructure, would your business be able to cope?
This year, we’ve seen greater changes in how we work than ever before. At the start of 2020, it would have been almost unimaginable to think that almost every profession and every sector would have to facilitate working from home. But in a year which has been besieged by the unexpected, now is a good time to think about implementing a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan.
What is a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan?
A DR plan is a document that will help your business get back up and running as quickly as possible if you are impacted by the unexpected. This could be something as simple as a power outage. Or it could be a more serious scenario such as a technical failure, a cyber-attack, or even a physical disaster such as a fire.
Your disaster recovery plan will outline a strategy that will prepare contingency plans for a variety of settings and set out the steps that you need to take to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.
Why are Disaster Recovery plans essential for businesses?
We live in a world where time is money.
The longer your business is unable to work productively, the greater the costs involved. Your staff may be unable to work as effectively as they could be. Or your business may suffer reputational damage as a result of the disaster – particularly if you’ve been negatively impacted by a hacker. Therefore, you must have policies and procedures in place to help you manage your recovery processes.
Your disaster recovery plan may not prevent you from the disaster taking place, but it can certainly help you to minimise its impact on your business.
At Lucid Systems, we work closely with our clients throughout the East of England to help them implement stringent disaster recovery plans. Our experience as a managed IT service means that we can use our in-depth knowledge and understanding of your business to ensure that you remain resilient in the face of a disaster.
To help you understand how to make the most of your disaster recovery plan, here are just a few of our top tips.
Tip #1: Your DR plan needs to be as comprehensive as possible
Disaster Recovery plans are an essential element of any business strategy. These aren’t just lengthy documents that are written for the sake of it. They should be as comprehensive as possible and provide an effective risk assessment for how you plan to cope with a wide range of scenarios.
Within your DR plan, you should make sure you include details of responsibilities and include a reference to any emergency contact details. It should provide you with a step-by-step process to help you recover from your disaster, whether it’s online or offline.
Your senior management team must be aware of the contents of the plan, and that staff members know where to access the DR plan if needed.
Tip #2: Test, test, and test again
Once you have prepared your disaster recovery strategy, you must test it regularly to ensure that it works in the way that it should. Taking the time to test your DR plan will enable you to assess its strengths and weaknesses.
You can establish areas for improvement and make tweaks to ensure that your disaster recovery strategy works for your business.
Tip #3: Update all of your software
This may sound like an obvious tip, but one of the best things you can do to protect your IT infrastructure is to ensure that all software has the latest updates.
Technology changes so fast, that software providers are continuously making changes to ensure that their products work as effectively as possible. Software updates aren’t just about removing out of date features, they are also about fixing minor bugs and glitches and increasing security resilience.
If your business operates via a network, you must ensure that all users have the latest software updates. You could potentially jeopardise your entire network if one or two computers are running out of date software processes.
Tip #4: Make the most of cloud-based technologies
One of the most common types of a disaster impacting businesses is data loss.
If you know that your business would be negatively impacted by server downtime, then you could consider migrating to cloud-based storage solutions.
At Lucid Systems, many of our clients choose to use our hosted data centres (which are located in Ipswich) because they trust us to encrypt and store their confident data on their behalf, rather than relying on an on-premise server. A benefit of using cloud-based systems is that your encrypted data is quickly and easily retrievable in the event of a disaster, and our team of IT technicians proactively monitor and check for issues before they arise.
If you’re more concerned about physical disasters (such as fires or floods), then you may wish to invest in remote desktop services which allow you to benefit from a consistent, standardised experience from anywhere in the world. Cloud-based technologies such as Office 365 are ideally set up for remote working. So, if you are prevented from working in your office, nothing is stopping you from being able to work as effectively from home, without any geographical boundaries.
Tip #5: Revisit your DR plan regularly
If you have prepared a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy, then it’s important to regularly revisit it. Your DR plan should be a flexible, working document which takes into account new users, new software, and new technology updates. You should ensure that your DR plan is continually updated and tested to ensure it provides you with the comprehensive care that you need during a time of crisis.
You may also wish to check that you have a dedicated back-up team in place in case your internal staff have changed since your disaster recovery plan was written.
Why not ask the experts for advice on disaster recovery?
At Lucid Systems, we specialise in helping clients across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex make the most of their disaster recovery plans. We help to identify any areas for improvement and implement new systems and software which will help to improve your resilience and ability to bounce back in the event of a disaster.
To find out more about how we can work with you to implement an effective disaster recovery strategy, please get in touch.
by Amy Dawson