Disaster comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s a wildfire raging across the U.S. West Coast or a typhoon hammering Japan and South Korea. Other times it’s a targeted ransomware attack slowing down critical and desperately needed COVID-19 treatment research. On the surface, these events seem completely different. But what they have in common is the potential to cause devastating data loss, negatively impact revenue, and cause lasting damage to your company’s reputation.
Obviously, we can’t stop a hurricane or an earthquake, but we can proactively create disaster recovery plans that will help minimize downtime and prevent data loss. Here are five of the most effective strategies for safeguarding your business-critical data and operations from the threats thrown your way by nature, cybercriminals, or simple human error.
Have a Disaster Recovery Plan Ready Before You Need It
The middle of a crisis is a terrible time to make mission-critical decisions—especially when those decisions could have been made during calmer times, by cooler heads. Creating a disaster recovery plan before you need it will not only ensure recovery processes are in place for all essential systems, data, and applications, but also provide detailed, step-by-step instructions that can easily be followed during a time of high stress.
Here are a few high-level tips to help you get started on a new or updated disaster recovery plan:
- Know your risks: Consider both likely risks and unlikely risks and the best approaches for each specific threat.
- Business impact analysis: Understand how downtime will impact business systems and operations then prioritize the recovery effort appropriately.
- Write your disaster recovery plan in plain language: You never know who will be around to kick-start recovery after a disaster. Write the plan in a way anyone can understand, not just the technical people, just in case.
- Store a copy of your plan offsite/in the cloud: Keeping your backup far away from your network will keep it safe from localized disasters as well as new strains of ransomware that specifically target backup files.
Look to the Cloud for (Almost) Painless Disaster Recovery
As mentioned above, ransomware operators are changing up their tactics to directly impact backup files. If your organization is hit with ransomware that encrypts your data and renders your backup useless, it’s going to be a long, painful recovery.
Securing backups off-site, preferably in the cloud, keeps your sensitive data away from the action and available from anywhere when it’s time to start the recovery process.
Test Your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans
Trial by fire is not an appropriate test strategy for your business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Instead, schedule regular tests to determine the efficacy of the plan and identify any areas that need to be updated or revisited.
Ideally, you should run a partial test at least every six months and a full test every year. It’s also a good idea to randomly conduct surprise tests to observe whether employees are prepared for a crisis and to gauge realistic response times.
Establish a Disaster Recovery Team
Appointing a group of employees to spearhead disaster recovery efforts ensures there are people onboard who know the ins and outs of the plan. Recruit team members from every level and department of the organization to optimize the team’s skill set, secure buy-in from up the organization, and make certain all company-critical systems are accounted for in the plan.
Each person on the team should be assigned specific responsibilities, which are then documented and circulated throughout the company so employees know who to call for what.
The disaster recovery team should also run employee education and training sessions to ensure everyone understands and can implement company disaster policies and procedures.
Invest in a Disaster Recovery Solution
A robust disaster recovery solution is your best defense against downtime and data loss following a disaster or cyberattack. Arcserve’s range of disaster recovery solutions provide the only comprehensive, fully integrated platform proven to increase agility while supporting your recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives, and service-level agreements both on-premises and in the cloud.
Investing in a solution that utilizes the latest data recovery protection technology will minimize downtime and help you recover critical systems, applications, and data after an unplanned outage.
When disaster strikes, business goals automatically become laser-focused on what needs to be done to protect the organization’s revenue, productivity, and reputation. The most rock-solid way to accomplish this is through proactively implementing a disaster recovery strategy well in advance of needing it.
The strategies discussed above are not exhaustive, but they are intended to give you a jumping-off point for exploring your organization’s specific recovery requirements and measures for success. For more tips on protecting your company’s assets from data loss and downtime, download How to Build a Disaster Recovery Plan.