Four Ways to Make an IT Disaster Even Worse

Let’s face it—no one ever wants to imagine a scenario where the worst happens, but the reality is that we all need to be prepared. Much like carrying insurance or having a will in your personal life, a disaster recovery plan is a necessity for any business.

A catastrophic event can be made worse by not addressing some simple recovery tasks ahead of time. Learn how to avoid making a bad situation worse by steering clear of the most common mistakes.

Mistake NO. 1: “On-Site Backup Is Enough”

There is no “recovery” in the plan unless there is something to recover! The most basic step is to actually create backups of all critical items.

Although on-site data backup is a good first step, ideally the backup should be stored in a different location other than your home or business. If a fire, flood or tornado hit (or if your server unexpectedly just stops working) and your business was affected, having restorable backups that have not been impacted is the only way to get the business back up and running quickly. The frequency of backing up depends on the volume or criticality of the data and should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

 Mistake NO. 2: “Having a Backup Is Enough”

It’s not enough to just be backing up data and applications. It’s crucial to test these backups to ensure that what has been backed up can be restored. Best practice is to test restore backups on a monthly basis, although more frequently is recommended, especially for data-heavy businesses such as health care providers and legal firms.

Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you have something out there that works and has relatively recent data, rather than hoping? The time to test a parachute isn’t after you’ve jumped out of a plane!

Mistake NO. 3: Thinking a Disaster Is Only “Natural”

The reality is that the majority of disaster situations are not natural disasters like tornados, fires and floods. Most involove equipment or software failures, human error or even theft. Too many business owners have been lulled into disaster preparedness complacency because their business is virtual, they don’t have many employees or their office building is not in a tornado or flood zone. The disaster recovery plan should address all types of disaster recovery, natural and otherwise.

 Mistake NO. 4: Not Having a Documented Plan

Having a written plan that has been well thought out ahead of time is key. It’s essential to think through steps to take, roles and responsibilities, contacts and budgets while you have a clear head and are not in panic mode. Be sure to keep a copy of the plan at an off-site location as well, so in the event of a disaster, it can be accessed.

Another consideration is the length of time the business can be down. Faster recovery times are more expensive, but are often less expensive than the cost of a prolonged downtime.

Remember, if you are not up and running yourself, you can’t ensure your business is up and running. It has been said that a fool with a plan will be more successful than a genius without a plan. With the right disaster recovery plan, you will be able to turn a potential disaster into success.