Will Your Business Go Silent After a Disaster?

 In Disaster Recovery, IT Planning

You know how noisy it gets in your workplace. Now imagine it totally silent. That’s the first moment after a systems failure. In the next moment, the noise level rises as employees start discussing how to respond. Then, in a third phase, the workplace is back to silence as business workers wait for the technical team to bring systems back online again.

Keeping that third phase as short as possible is why you need a disaster recovery plan. In fact, a good disaster recovery plan will keep the second phase short too, because employees will know what they need to do in response to the crisis. Studies show that it takes only one hour of downtime for companies to start feeling a financial impact. If the downtime extends too long, businesses may never recover and the silence never ends.

Causes and Costs of Downtime

It isn’t possible to prevent all causes of downtime. Systems can fail for many reasons, including:

• natural disasters

• malicious human actions (either employees or outsiders destroying data)

• accidental human actions (an employee accidentally deletes critical files)

• equipment failures

The downtime has multiple costs, including:

• lost business

• damaged reputation

• penalties or fines for failing to meet contractual or legal obligations

Plan Your Response to Downtime

In order to avoid those costs, your business needs a robust strategy that includes plans to reduce the risk of system outages as well as speed your response.

Reducing the risk of outages requires taking several steps. Your infrastructure needs to be redundant, built with high availability in mind. That will protect you from an outage if a single node fails. Some high availability systems are able to failover automatically with minimal disruption to end users. You need to implement antivirus and other security measures to reduce the risk of malware damaging your systems, as well as educate users on how to recognize and avoid responding to phishing messages. On-site backups are important to allow you to rapidly restore files in case user error deletes or corrupts data.

In order to respond promptly to a widespread failure or natural disaster that brings down your entire data center, you need a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for restoring service at a secondary location. That secondary location can be across town, but ideally it will be further away, or in the cloud, to avoid being impacted by the same outage. You also need backups stored away from your primary site so you can access them when that site isn’t accessible.

Your disaster recovery plan should document all your systems and their configurations, along with the steps needed to bring them online at the secondary site. Make sure to document how you’ll contact the key personnel who will execute the restoration tasks. You may want to rely on disaster recovery as a service to help automate and speed the process.

Prescient Solutions offers disaster recovery services to businesses, agencies, and other organizations in the Chicago and Schaumburg areas. Our team will help you plan and implement your disaster recovery strategy and ensure the process executes smoothly in case of a crisis. Download our Guide to Disaster Recovery to learn more about how your business should prepare to cope with an outage.

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