Spoiler Alert: Disaster Has Many Faces – Chance Favors the Prepared

Disaster recovery planning

Get ready for a stunning statistic. A report from Deloitte determined that all but 10% of businesses will fail without a disaster recovery plan in place. What’s more amazing is that 75% of all small businesses don’t have any disaster recovery plan. Perhaps these business owners see headlines about natural disasters and catastrophic downtime and – in misguided denial – think, “It won’t happen to me.”

Experts fear businesses are not looking at a complete picture, perhaps only concerned about what most consider traditional forms of disaster, like fire or flood. With cyberthreats ever-evolving and on the rise, disaster can strike at any time, through any channel (even managed service providers) and often when you least expect it.

Since not everyone could be among the more than 1,000 IT pros and business owners who attended the Disaster Recovery Journal fall conference this week, we thought it would be a good opportunity to review the basics of modern disaster recovery planning.

After all, it’s never too late to get serious about the threats that are out there and always a good time to plan for the worst.

Prioritize your disaster recovery plan

While having backups of your data, applications and systems delivers a steady approach to data recovery – the first step to protecting your bottom line – disaster recovery ensures you can get back up and running fast. By leveraging a cloud solution (disaster recovery as a service), critical business systems can run remotely while other systems are restored.

Identifying which systems are “critical” is one of the first considerations in disaster planning. Key considerations might be your point of sale system, your website, patient or client records – your approach depends on your business, how you deliver services and, in particular, which systems enable you to do so.

Safe, accessible DR as a service

While building a standalone DR environment can be prohibitively costly for most organizations, the cloud enables a convenient and cost-effective way to execute a disaster recovery plan. This means that with the right cloud solution, businesses of all sizes can ensure their own critical business applications are always available and ready to run. With the Disaster Recovery Add-on for Acronis Backup, for example, you can access the Acronis Cloud to recover from any crisis – whether it’s caused by Mother Nature or cybercriminals.

What should your DR plan include?

In addition to prioritizing the systems and data you need to ensure business resiliency during a crisis, and putting the technologies in place needed to protect them, your organization should have a detailed plan so everyone knows what needs to happen in the event a disaster does strike. Complete plans usually documents the following information.

1. Introduction. In addition to a summary and scope of the plan, include who created the plan, who approved it, and who is authorized to activate the plan.

2. Roles and responsibilities. List all disaster recovery team members, detailing their contact information, roles, responsibilities, spending limits, etc.

3. Other contact information. Make a list of primary and secondary contact information – from police and public safety numbers to vendors for hardware, software, facilities, etc.

4. Incident response. Document the plan for assessing site damage and the initial steps in the disaster recovery procedure.

5. Plan activation. List the procedures for operating in contingency mode, including the criteria for launching the plan and instructions for all team members.

6. Return to normal operating mode. Outline the criteria for returning to normal operating mode and include procedures for things like equipement replacement, restarting systems, notifying personnel, etc.

7. Document history. Record all of the document dates and revisions for your disaster recovery plan. Include the name and job title of anyone who revised the plan and who approved those revisions.

8. Procedures. Once activated, DR team members should take the materials assigned to them and proceed with the response and recovery activities as specified in the plan. The more detailed your plan is, the more likely the affected IT asset will be recovered and returned to normal.

9. Testing. Document all testing and include dates and resources that will be managing and performing the testing. You should exercise your DR plan annually or bi-annually.

Choosing the right technology to support your plan

As mentioned above, having a thorough DR plan requires the right support and technology to execute it. Organizations can leverage Acronis Backup and the Disaster Recovery Add-on to easily, efficiently and securely protect and recover any workload – whether it is virtual, on-premise or in the cloud. That is, you can disaster-proof your business, with no infrastructure investments or training required, with an easy-to-use cloud failover added to your backup solution. You’re able to run critical business applications in the Acronis Cloud whenever disaster strikes.

Service providers can also leverage Acronis Disaster Recovery Cloud to deliver disaster recovery as a service, boosting customers’ business continuity and ensuring they avoid costly downtime, penalties, and reputational damage.

Final thought

A well-thought-out disaster recovery plan can be the difference between bankruptcy and your organization’s survival – minimizing lost revenues and operational disruptions, limiting legal liability, and protecting the digital assets of your organization.

Creating a disaster recovery plan is the first step toward protecting your company from natural and man-made disasters. Acronis makes disaster recovery easy, efficient and secure, whether you’re an IT pro protecting your own company’s data or a service provider looking out for countless customers.