If Disaster Comes Calling, Will You Be Prepared?
Keep your digital assets protected.
When it comes to disaster preparedness, without question, businesses take necessary precautions to protect their physical premises. Whether property insurance alone or in conjunction with another form of safeguard, business owners would never dream of letting their business go unprotected.
So why should protecting digital assets be any different? This is especially true in the midst of hurricane season, and with winter storms wreaking havoc early this winter. Just as we take the necessary precautions to protect physical property, the same respect should be given to protecting corporate data and business assets.
The facts are undeniable: The National Federation of Independent Business found that 30% of small businesses will experience a natural disaster, but roughly 96% of business workstations are not currently being backed up. And the loss of corporate data can put a company out of business just as quickly as the loss of an office space or storefront, if not faster!
Data loss without proper protection can be costly. Taking the necessary steps and putting an emergency protection plan in place to safeguard critical corporate data can be the difference between filing for bankruptcy or being left standing after disaster strikes. Keeping the following tips top of mind can help to ensure that your disaster preparedness plan is strong and ready to defend your business from falling victim to disaster this hurricane season.
Plan ahead. The best time to deal with a disaster situation is before one ever happens. When preparing a disaster preparedness plan, it is important to brainstorm possible threats and hazards and perform a business impact analysis (BIA) that looks at the financial and operational impacts that would result from a disruption of those business processes. For example, is your company located in a tornado or hurricane corridor, in an earthquake zone, or an area in danger of flooding due to a large storm? Ask yourself how and where you would conduct business while your primary facility is unavailable.
Next, look at your disaster recovery on a more granular level and determine RTO (recovery time objective), RPO (recovery point objective), and RGO (recovery granularity objective) for critical business data prior to an emergency situation. This will guide you in knowing exactly how to assess the damage when disaster strikes.
Implementation. Ready.gov, the national public service advertising arm of FEMA, offers a number of great resources for disaster planning and preparedness on its website. According to the campaign, an effective preparedness plan should address a variety of topics.
A complete data protection plan should include:
- Emergency response
- Employee assistance
- Incident management
Once your business has a complete preparedness plan in place, employing a backup and recovery solution is an important next step to consider in order to keep your digital assets as secure as possible.
Testing, testing. This step is crucial to successful recovery of your business assets post-disaster. All too often, businesses skip the important testing phase believing that their data is properly secured and backed up, when in fact backups are not being performed as planned.
Tests and exercises should also be put into place to ensure all parts of the preparedness plan work properly. Exercising the preparedness program is the only way to ensure its effectiveness in truly protecting corporate data.
Don’t stop there.Even the best plans have room for improvement. Through regular testing of a disaster recovery plan, teams can determine which components are working properly, and which can be changed or enhanced for better results. It is also vital to keep plans up-to-date with the business, equipment, technology and the goals that have been set for disaster recovery.
Lessons learned from incidents that occur within the community, within the business’ industry, or nationally can reveal needs for preparedness program changes. For example, one such high-profile disaster was the recent three-alarm fire that tore through Eastern Yacht Club’s historic facility in Marblehead, MA, the evening of June 12, 2014. Fortunately for Eastern Yacht Club, they had a disaster recovery plan in place, and even though their building was destroyed, they were able to access data that was critical to their business operations, within hours of the fire.
For help in disaster planning, you can also look to best practices and instructional guidance published by trade associations, professional societies, and newsletters. Disaster recovery vendors can be resources to evaluate and improve the preparedness program, too.
By keeping these tips in mind, regardless of what type of disaster comes your way, you’ll be prepared to protect your critical business data and business assets.