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Advice on creating a successful disaster recovery plan.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike to decide how to recover from it

A surprisingly large number of UK businesses never reopen after a disaster, simply because they did not prioritise the need for an effective disaster recovery plan.

Planning now for how you will recover after a disaster is an essential part of ensuring business continuity and ASL have created a helpful guide to get you started.

Don’t procrastinate – plan now

The percentage of SMEs who have not yet considered how they will recover if disaster strikes could exceed a staggering 50%.  However, if you don’t plan at all or leave it until it’s too late, it will take your business much longer to return to an operational state. In fact, the consequences of procrastination could mean not recovering at all and going out of business altogether. Effective planning with clearly defined data recovery strategies could avoid downtime altogether, ensuring your ability to stay up and running while others flounder.

Prioritise data to be recovered after a disaster

There is an enormous amount of data generated by businesses today and the challenge you face is deciding what data your business needs immediately and what can be left to be recovered later. Trying to recover it all in one go could needlessly increase the amount of downtime you experience and could escalate your costs. Prioritising the data simplifies the process, which increases your ability to bounce back quickly and for less expense.

Consider more than one type of disaster

Data disaster does not only come in the form of human error or ransomware. Your operation could experience hardware or software failure as well as natural types of disaster, such as fire or flood. Evaluating the impact on your business of each type of disaster will help you to assess the level of risk each one represents, which can then be built into your DR (disaster recovery) plan.

Prepare for on-premise and Cloud infrastructure disasters

With the rise in popularity of Cloud computing in recent years, there has been a corresponding increase in the need to plan to recover data from that environment. Regardless of whether your infrastructure is Cloud or on-premise based, it’s imperative you are able to recover the data you need when you need it and this should be accounted for in your planning.

Define SLAs – Service Level Agreements

Whether you have outsourced your DR or you have your own IT department, it is vitally important that data recovery expectations have been agreed by you and your team. If service levels are not defined in this way, misunderstandings could occur, which can negatively impact the level of business continuity that can be achieved.

Have a Plan B

Ensure your backup plan has a backup plan. Having more than one person who can make decisions and fully understand the nature of the SLA (Service Level Agreement) is extremely important if you want to avoid hindering the successful implementation of your Plan A. Having a Plan B means someone will always be available, regardless of the nature of the disaster or when it strikes.

Test, test and test again

Testing is a vital part of your planning process. It highlights any weaknesses in your plan and demonstrates where improvements can be made. It also creates a level of certainty that your recovery solution will actually work when you most need it.  You should factor in a test at least once a year.

A final thought on the importance of updating

Updating is not only important for your systems to maintain resilience, but it is essential for your disaster recovery plan too. As your business evolves, your systems, including your hardware, software and how you host your infrastructure, may change. The evolutions in how your business operates must be reflected in your plan or it will fail.

For further information on successful planning for a disaster recovery solution, call ASL on 0345 862 0350.

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