Here at Premier IT Solution we offer disaster recovery services for small business and we’d like to show you why it’s important to consider what your business would do should your IT systems fail.
Lengthy periods of downtime can prove detrimental to small businesses, particularly when access to vital work files is affected, along with processing sales or, in fact, conducting any usual business function.
Small businesses often work within incredibly tight margins for error, making them extremely vulnerable to a whole host of natural and human-fault disasters that can plummet your business into difficult situations.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Despite many small business owners being entirely aware of the risks that disasters pose to their operations, very few take the appropriate steps required to protect themselves fully. Insurance firm Nationwide state that their research discovered 75% of business owners reported some form of off-site storage for at least some of their vital business records.
Although, it was also discovered that 68% have no formal disaster plan, despite almost half reporting it would take around three months to recover from a disaster. Three months is practically an impossible timescale for a small business to survive within.
Many businesses consider how they will react and respond to a natural disaster like a flood or a fire, however, very few consider the same reactions to security breaches such as hardware, ransomware or a software faults and crashes. Often, simple human error can cause just as much downtime as a targeted attack.
The broader objective of a disaster recovery plan, first and foremost, is to minimise downtime and data loss, while protecting the business and its clients/customers. The implementation of a disaster recovery plan minimises the disruption of operations and allows for a timely return to normal operating procedures.
A measured and organised plan for such a situation includes many aspects, such as computers, phones, networks, infrastructures, customers and employees. The importance lies in the speed in which the business can regain access to crucial systems and data.
What’s the Difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity?
These two terms are used interchangeably at times due to the small differences between them. The main difference is that disaster recovery is a plan to bring the business back to full strength following an attack or disaster. In contrast, business continuity is something implemented in the interim to continue business functions during an attack or failure.
What to Include in a Disaster Recovery Plan?
The key elements to a good disaster relief plan are:
- Data Replication: It’s critical that all of the business data your company holds, can be backed up to another location or the cloud. Regardless of the size of your business, data replication is a key element that must be considered. Businesses today run on a complex web of digital data, all completely essential to the inner workings of operations and this must main completely intact and accessible following a disaster of any shape and size. This is why data replication is a vital element of your greater recovery efforts.
- Priority Definition: Firms should define which elements of their business are of the utmost importance to access, and when. Of course, in an ideal world, you would have everything back immediately, but in a disaster scenario, the likelihood of that is very small. In addition, the cost implications on trying to achieve something like that would be enormous. With this in mind, consider the applications you would require as a priority, working down from those. Those priority aspects would be everyday applications that would deem your business unable to function without.
- Communication Plan and Assign Roles: During a disaster, communication is essential to keep everyone on the same page and to outline the recovery efforts. Employees should also be completely aware of their roles in the efforts to bring the business back to standard operating procedures.
- Asset Inventory: Your business will need a thorough and up to date list of all major applications, software and hardware, in addition to contact information for the departments responsible for the assets. The first requirement of disaster recovery is to collate records of what needs to be recovered. If you don’t already have a detailed account of IT assets make one now. Decide which hardware, software, and data will need to be recovered? Which who will be responsible for the recovery or better yet, who is your point of contact with your IT managed service provider. The IT asset inventory list should be incorporated into the company’s disaster recovery plan.
- Remote Working Contingency: This aspect has never been more important in light of the current events surrounding the Coronavirus. The ability to shift working functions from onsite to offsite will allow you and your team a flexibility that should allow regular business functions to continue in the face of a disaster. For this, consider the communication between employees, what equipment would be available and the roles that each employee would undertake under remote working conditions. The market is abundant with flexible working solutions, so the impact on your business should be minimal if planned correctly.
- Keep a Formal Copy of the Plan: Your disaster plan is useless inside someone’s head and not kept formally in a physical manner. In addition, some employees may not be available at the time of the disaster, making a plan impossible to execute without a hard copy.
- Define Your Recovery Objectives: This may sound like quite an obvious point, but it’s often overlooked by businesses. Different industries, businesses and sectors will require a vastly different disaster plan, for example, an e-commerce database will require a hard and fast recovery as their entire business model is based on their sites being online. Alternatively, a business using an older software or system may be less stringent on the recovery requirements. This is where you can fall short on your disaster recovery plan. You must outline and set out your recovery objectives with your IT managed service provider based on the knowledge gained from all the above points. It’s imperative that you understand better than anyone what precisely needs to be recovered and in what way.
- It will also help you to understand the implications of downtime periods of your different business functions and how it impacts your business model in the longer-term.
- This is the step where many IT professionals fall short. Setting recovery objectives without referring to the business managers advice and approval is the main cause of misalignment, miscommunication and mistakes. It’s vital that you involve them in the process of formulating the disaster recovery plan to ensure a timely solution.
- The key here is to recognise your business requirements and provide a distinguished level of service availability based on the priority list. Now that you have that material in hand, it needs to be translated into recovery objectives that will be included in your business disaster recovery plan.
Help Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan
It will be fairly complicated to formulate a disaster recovery plan without help from professionals in the field. These services, offered by us, provide an assessment of your business requirements in the face of a disaster and without this kind of help first, executing any plan will be very hard.
This is why these disaster services have become so popular with small businesses over the past few years. Not only will you protect yourself in case of a disaster, but you’ll also have the peace of mind that a team of IT professionals are available to help execute the plan.
Why Do I Need a Disaster Recovery Plan?
The total cost of data breaches each year stands at around $3.86 million, according to DevOps. The overwhelming need to provide customers and clients with the best services possible, as well as seeking the best possible business outcomes fuels the growing need for contingency plans surrounding disasters or all kinds.
Every business, regardless of size, must consider the importance of these kinds of contingencies and how their business would fare in the face of a disaster, considering not only the business implications but the wider reputation of their company.
- Business Reputation: The power of word of mouth has always been a crucial aspect of business, especially if you have clients and customers that recommend you to other businesses and customers. News will always travel fast when there has been an issue with your business and in turn, your long-term reputation could be harmed as a result if you didn’t take swift and measured action to regain full serviceability. Customers and clients will always be sympathetic to scenarios like a disaster and may be patient in the interim, but in this digital age, some more disgruntled customers and clients could damage your reputation.
- Harm Future Business: Businesses whether big or small all have a wider and longer-term goal for their company. Especially with the internet at your disposal, globalisation is no longer a far-fetched idea. With this in mind, your online presence and reputation will precede you in future deals and negotiations. Online, situations are very rarely forgotten and if you had a lengthy amount of downtime following a disaster, it could harm your dealings with customers in the future.
- Lose Customers: While the majority of customers and clients may lend a sympathetic ear, many won’t. Competition is rife in so many industries, meaning customers and clients can leave a company and find a new one in no time at all. Even loyal customers may suddenly become disjointed following a lengthy spell of downtime from your firm. This has an impact on your revenue streams and before you know it, the knock-on effect has left you in a very precarious position. Planning for disasters and showing your ability to regain serviceability fast can also have the opposite effect on customers, instilling more confidence in them.
- Employees May Leave: Put simply, the pressure and unhappiness from your customers and clients will fall on the doorsteps of your employees, and if there doesn’t seem to be a quick resolution on the horizon for any disaster, they could lose faith in your company entirely. If employees don’t have the necessary tools to complete their jobs, you could find your turnover rate increasing fast. Talented employees are at a premium in today’s market, so you certainly don’t want to lose them in this scenario.
- Downsizing: If you’re company has had a reduced amount of revenue flow down to long periods of inactivity, you may have to explore downsizing options such as cancelling growth plans and even releasing staff. Again, this has a big effect not only on your reputation, but on your capability to provide a service to your existing customers and clients.
With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, serving over 47 countries in over 250 projects, we offer tailored and bespoke IT managed services to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Our sales and technical teams work in complete harmony to understand your business requirements, goals, challenges and growth targets to provide a service completely unique and effective for your business.
Our disaster recovery plans use cutting edge technology to ensure minimal disruption to your business and to help you get back online faster.
We’re committed to providing the best services available, not just for today, but in providing models that ensure your business benefits from the latest developments and the changing landscape of IT managed services.
Our packages and services are designed for start-up companies of only a few employees, to SME’s with over 500 employees. We’re dedicated to providing services attainable by all budgets and companies.
We offer our clients 24/7 support, so you can be safe in the knowledge that we are always on hand to help your business with anything it may require.
You can check out our website to see more information about specific services you may be interested in adopting, with further studies, statistics and information available. This deeper-rooted advice can help you even further to make a decision on the most suitable model for your business requirements.
Get in touch with our team today for more information, advice, prices and to ask any questions you may have about utilising our services for your organisation.