If your business is like most, you likely rely heavily on your technology infrastructure to run it. It only makes sense to protect your valuable IT investments in the event of an unplanned disaster, such as disruptions caused by malfunctioning equipment, carrier issues, unauthorized access, viruses and malware attacks or even hacking.
Your IT infrastructure, from data communications, local area networks, wireless networks, voice communication systems and wide area networks, will benefit from a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan, which should be one of the highest priorities in your organization.
To protect your network, as well as the rest of your interface devices (such as routers and switches), follow these steps to establish your own Disaster Recovery Plan:
- Put an emergency team together – select a team from your existing employees who will form a committee in the event of an IT disaster. This team will act to fill the most critical positions that your business needs to function, and will be responsible for taking the necessary directional steps in a crisis.
- Establish alternate methods of communication – your plan should include other ways your people can contact each other when your email and Internet connection gets disconnected. Keep an updated list of home phone and mobile phone numbers, non-work emails, and even Facebook and Twitter accounts for this purpose. You may even invest in prepaid cell phones as an inexpensive mode of communication for your company.
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- Back up your data – you should do a regular backup of all your electronic data in the event your IT infrastructure is compromised. If your servers are inadvertently rendered useless, it will also be prudent to have an off-site back up of all of your organization’s data.
- Create a backup plan – ask yourself: what do you need to keep performing your business activities in the face of an IT infrastructure meltdown? This will ensure your business stays afloat and you continue making revenue while experiencing this type of major disruption.
- Compile your DR Plan in hard copy – this reference must be kept handy at all times and should be disseminated among your employees.
- Train your employees in the DR Plan – once you have your Disaster Recovery Plan in place, make sure all your employees are aware of it and are thoroughly familiar with the steps to take in the event of an IT infrastructure catastrophe. Periodically run “fire drills” at random times to test their IT disaster preparedness. For example, you can plan to simulate disruptions, or shut down some of your systems and see how your business reacts and “recovers” from this type of scenario.
- Regularly update your DR Plan – technology is constantly evolving, and so should your preparedness for any IT disaster. Just like Murphy’s Law, expect events to occur that are outside the realm of your plan. Never allow your DR Plan to go out of date, which renders it totally useless for your business.
It cannot be stressed enough how important a fluid Disaster Recovery Plan is for your business. By successfully implementing one of your own, you will minimize your organization’s recovery process, continue to operate despite the IT handicap and ensure you never permanently lose any critical information crucial to running your business.
Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee.