Most small businesses don’t invest in a disaster recovery plan, and as a result, suffer severe consequences after one takes place. According to FEMA, 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Furthermore, 90 percent of them fail within a year if they don’t reopen within five days of the event.

Downtime and loss of data are two crises that most companies cannot afford to suffer. If disaster strikes, an adequate disaster recovery plan can mean the difference between survival or failure for a business. With that in mind, here are some disaster recovery best practices to help ensure the survival of your business in the event a disaster hits it.

1. Assess risks to data and operations
The first step of disaster recovery is to formulate a plan. Assess your potential risks and then rank them according to probability. Include events such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, hardware failures, software corruptions, and extended power outages. Threats come in many different forms, but you want to focus your efforts and resources on those which are the most likely to occur.

2. Develop a business continuity plan
Some businesses can tolerate short periods of downtime, while others cannot afford any at all. Evaluate your company’s tolerance level to help you determine how long of a disruption your company can withstand. Then, start to put your plan into place with steps such as:
• Identify critical operations
• Create detailed inventories of data storage
• Determine mission-critical systems
• Establish primary and secondary data protection methods
• Determine the frequency of data backups
• Identify off-site backup locations
• Select restore procedures

Planning for a disaster requires specific expertise and knowledge of technology. If you don’t have the in-house resources necessary to adequately safeguard your company’s digital assets, you can outsource this process to an IT partner who can conduct assessments and create a disaster recovery solution for you.

3. Test your plan
You won’t know if your disaster recovery plan is feasible unless you test it. Make certain all members of your organization understand their roles. Run a mock disaster to see if the plans for people, processes, and technology run smoothly. Since people, equipment, and other technologies/practices change over time, be sure to test your plan at least once a year to make sure it’s still viable. Update your plan, personnel, or resources where necessary.

No one ever expects a disaster to occur, but realistically they can–and do–happen. Is your organization prepared to recover in the aftermath? If you’d like to learn more about our data backup and disaster recovery services, contact us today to speak to one of our IT experts.