A dreaded silence, albeit temporarily, now clouds the crowded cubicles.
You don’t know what just happened, but yes, that was definitely the sound of your business operations crashing down.
A power outage, a malware attack reducing the entire enterprise server to its knees, a fire breakout, a natural calamity…
… your business operations have just been struck with a disaster. In a form that you least predicted and at a time when you least expected.
And, if you are an admirer of the work that the Aberdeen Group puts into in their revealing market reports and data science assignments—we definitely are! — you know what you are up against.
“A research by Aberdeen Group revealed that for every one hour of operational downtime, small businesses on average incur a financial loss of $8000. For midsized companies, it is $74000.”
For large corporations – an intense sigh!
No wonder, businesses across the globe have become serious about planning and investing into an effective disaster recovery (DR) plan.
But are they succeeding in their endeavors?
Not many, at least that is what this Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey reveals.
Over 40 percent of the respondents finding their disaster recovery plans ineffective.
This begs the question, “What makes a business disaster recovery plan an effective plan?”
We have the answer. An effective plan has four core components: assessment, delegation, communication, and testing. Let’s look at each, individually.
1) Effective Assessment of Your Needs
Effective assessment of your needs, when shaping up a business disaster recovery plan, involves two things:
- Identifying which business systems need to be a part of your disaster recovery plan.
- Ranking the identified systems on the basis of RTO and RPO.
Let’s be honest here:
You can’t integrate everything in your business disaster recovery plan.
If you try doing so, you may end up exercising unwanted negligence towards the more crucial systems of your business. Something that may not be of much importance to your immediate operational needs, may end up consuming the attention that the other more important system warrants.
Ask yourself, for instance: do you really need that conversational record of your social media interactions which you had with your audience, at the time when your entire server is down?
And ask, multiple such questions and identify which core systems are most essential towards the running of your business operations.
Once, you have identified these crucial systems, you can then further prioritize them on the basis of RTO and RPO.
RTO or Recovery Time Objective, is the amount of time that you can afford to be without a particular functional system.
RPO or Recovery Point Objective, is the age of files that are crucial for restoration, post-disaster, for the business to resume its normal operations.
When you rank your core systems based on RTO and RPO, you are able to evaluate how far you are equipped in terms of solutions, and what more do you need to address efficient and convenient restoration of your business operations.
2) Effective Delegation, Precise Briefing and Role Assignment Practices
The next important ingredient towards shaping up an effective business disaster recovery plan is the constructive delegation of responsibilities and role assignment.
Everyone, who forms the part of the team responsible for executing the DR plan, should know:
- About their specific responsibilities
- About the scope being entailed by those responsibilities
- About the protocol which defines the execution of those responsibilities.
Script it in detail—without making it into a fifty-page complex manual instructions. It will be used in a situation of disaster, and as such imparting complex-essayed instructions is not the ideal practice.
This helps avoid destructive execution of DR tasks and ensures that they are carried out in time and without any delays.
Effective delegation, precise briefing and role assignment practices, make sure that the DR tasks are executed in an organized and timely manner.
Furthermore, appoint someone with the responsibility of leading and monitoring the DR team – someone, who is well versed with the practices that are to be carried out.
This way, you can make sure that all practices align with the steps as provisioned in your business disaster recovery strategy and they are being performed in the right order.
3) Effective Communication
Perhaps the most important and the most ignored element of a business disaster recovery plan, is the supplementation of an effective communication plan.
The chaos that a disaster brings with it, has the natural tendency to overthrow the stability that characterizes the communication flow between your employees.
If they don’t communicate effectively and in a timely manner, it would be hard to follow the execution of DR plan.
When it would be hard to follow the execution of DR plan, the end-result is bound to be ineffective.
Your business disaster recovery plan is going to be ineffective.
Lack of an effective communication renders the execution of DR plan as ineffective.
Therefore, it is important that you include a communication plan as part of your business disaster recovery strategy. This helps to ensure that streamlined communication is maintained between the members of your DR team and other employees.
4) Effective Testing
Your business disaster recovery plan is as good and effective as your last test
And, it’s totally true.
- Some organizations enact DR plans, but never test them to see if they really deliver the results which you expect them to deliver.
- Other organizations structure robust DR plans but never test them in a setting, detailed enough, to help evaluate the robustness of their structured DR plans.
For instance, data backup is one of the most widely exercised practices, believed to equip an organization with a solution, where a ransomware might attack their servers.
However, do you know that 75 percent of data backups fail to restore the important files, when they are run at the time of disaster recovery process?
From hardware and software problems to human error and network failures – many reasons account for the failure of data backups. But, all of these can be controlled and the risk can be mitigated if schedule recovery runs are performed to test if the DR plan is actually working or not.
By testing your proposed DR solution, an organization can identify in advance if there are any potential vulnerabilities in a business disaster recovery plan. Thus, they can proactively address the concerns before these vulnerabilities cause any major inconvenience.
To conveniently and effectively recover from a disaster, it is important that organizations must focus on structuring a business disaster recovery plan that is comprehensive and contains all essential elements which helps it make effective. For more details get in touch with Noel Network & PC Services, Inc.