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PREPARE YOUR DATA FOR ANY STORM

A Guide To Creating A Plan For Data Protection.

DISASTER PREP YOUR DATA

Natural Disasters are no stranger to any part of the world but, in South Louisiana, we know that every summer the next one could be just around the corner. Fortunately, for those who are prepared, a natural disaster doesn’t have to mean a disaster for your business data. When you stop and think about how integrated our businesses are with technology, it becomes apparent just how important it is to have a plan.

When developing a plan, you will want to make sure that it answers three basic questions.

1. What is it’s objective and purpose.

2. Who is responsible in case a disruption happens.

3. What will these people do when the disaster strikes.

Lets dive into these a bit more.

Defining The Objective And Purpose

For most, there are two basic objectives when it comes to having a disaster preparation plan. The first is to minimize the downtime and, secondly, to prevent data loss.

To flesh this out a littler further, take an inventory of the hardware, software, and data that is required to continue your business operations. For each, it is important to consider what level of downtime and data loss you can live with and what you can live without.

As tech researcher Cormac Foster points out, “Payroll, accounting and the weekly customer newsletter may not be mission-critical in the first 24 hours, but left alone for several days, they can become more important than any of your initial problems.” The point is to identify what is important and work with IT to develop a plan that insures those benchmarks.

Making decisions about a plan can be very similar to buying insurance. It starts with an assessment of the value of what you need to protect and the risk level you can afford to live with. But a good plan can come with many benefits;

  • Peace of mind knowing that you are covered
  • Minimize risk of business delays
  • Minimize potential poor decision making during a disaster
  • Reduce potential legal liabilities
  • Lower unnecessary stress during a disaster situation.

Counting The Costs

Often times the most comprehensive data protection can be really expensive and complex. However, newer technology is now making this more affordable.

Legacy systems, often times, require robust data backup and recovery products, while newer hyper-converged technologies have layers of redundancy built-in to account for disaster recovery.

VDI solutions can often be another illustration of technology that can become worth its weight in a time of disaster. Having the flexibility to plugin your environment to any device, can allow you to get back up and running quickly.

Taking Responsibility

When disaster strikes, it’s too late to start making decisions about who is going to be responsible for restoring IT systems. An integral part of any disaster plan is to make sure that both your in-house and outsourced IT have discussed the objectives and purpose, understand the plan, and have taken part in building the technology systems that are ultimately backing up your data and systems.

Good Disaster Recovery plans follow three basic strategies.

1. Preventative Measures

Off-site backups, the use of surge protectors, and routine inspections are all great starting places for preventing data disasters.

2. Detective Measures

Other measures include monitoring the system actively to be on the lookout for what may cause any disruption.

3. Corrective Measures

Corrective measures are implemented once disaster has struck and the goal is to restore the data and systems.

Making sure that you are covering all three will insure that you are up and running all the time.

Know what happens next when disaster strikes.

The most important part of your disaster recovery plan is to know the next step when and if it happens. Much like knowing the exits of a building during a fire, it’s critical that you know what to do.

We recommend the following:

Make sure that the plan is distributed among your staff and that they know what the expectations are. Educating your staff and outfitting them with the proper expectations of downtime for their specific business tasks can eliminate a lot of added stress and confusion during a recovery situation.

Make sure that business leadership knows who to call and that both in-house and outsourced IT have been briefed and made aware of communication expectations.

Geoffrey Wold of the Disaster Recovery Journal even recommends that organizations create a formal committee for both the planning for disaster recovery and the execution of the plan during a disaster situation. Recommendations are that “the planning committee include representatives from all functional areas of the organization.”

Taking Action

Our hope is that this information was helpful and gave you the tools you need to begin putting together a plan for protecting your data and IT systems even in the face of the worst situations.

If you have any questions about the topic above. Please reach out to us. We would be happy to advise you further.

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