What is Disaster Recovery and Why is it Important?
An unforeseen disaster can knock out a company’s reputation, database or financial wellbeing. Yet, far too many entrepreneurs run their businesses without a disaster recovery plan.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster Recovery is a company’s way of restoring normal functionality after a cyber-attack, equipment failure, natural disaster or pandemic like COVID-19. In other words, it’s a strategy for what to do to keep the business running during a major disruption.
Why is Disaster Recovery Important?
Disasters happen all the time. More importantly, a disaster can damage a business with varying degrees of severity. A power outage might cost a startup a few leads.
A fire, on the other hand, could burn down a company’s entire server room. A flood could damage the entire building while a pandemic could disrupt the business for months.
The financial ramifications of a disasters can be tremendous. Last year, the Uptime Institute estimated that business disruptions costs businesses up to $1M. And if the disruptions are a result of a data breach, businesses spend an average of $4.35M in recovery efforts.
When summed up, a business recovery plan can help your organization in the following ways:
- Reducing Downtime
Every minute an online business is unavailable, it loses an average of $5,600 according to the Gartner Group. This results to a mean loss of $336,000 per hour. This does not include the damage downtime can cause to your brand, the risk of data breach and other missed opportunities.
A good disaster recovery plan can help you run your business with 99% uptime. This means your business does not risk losing customers or suffering negative reputation even during disasters.
- Optimum Productivity
If your employees must be online to work, then you need to have a DR plan. Without it, your business risks being offline. It means you sales team can’t find leads. Your customer service department can’t respond to inquiries and your IT department can’t run your company’s IT infrastructure efficiently.
A disaster recovery plan can help your organization run smoothly throughout the year. Your company’s different departments can work coherently and maximize productivity because of reduced disruptions.
- Minimizing Damage
A disaster of any kind can be unforgiving to your business. A recovery plan can help you identify sensitive data and assets that you can secure preemptively. If disaster ever happens, you won’t have to pay through the roof to recover these assets now that you will have secured them.
- Protecting Company Reputation
When a company suffers a data breach, no one wants to know if it was an unforeseen disaster. People close down their accounts. Lawsuits are filed and the business usually have to spend millions of dollars in recovery.
With a DR plan at hand, you can escape a disaster with your reputation intact. That’s because a DR includes measures to help protect the loss of important company data because any disaster ever happens.
- Fast Recovery
When you think about it, the goal of drafting a disaster recovery plan is to help your business bounce back from disasters quickly. It’s a way of solving problems before they happen.
When you have a good DR plan, no disaster can shake your business. That’s because you will know what to do to get your business up and running in the shortest time possible.
How Disaster Recovery Works
Disaster recovery centers on three things:
No business wants to go through a disaster. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need a disaster prevention plan. Usually, this plan involves checking that a company’s systems are updated and running smoothly. It also involves resolving network issues, threats and human errors that could contribute to a disaster.
A disaster recovery plan needs to anticipate disasters, the consequences and how to overcome them. It is a way of preparing the organization about the dangers that could happen and what to do in case they ever happen.
A good example of disaster anticipation is to backup sensitive data in your organization. Another example is having an off-premise server center that can help your company get back online after a disaster.
The mitigation stage deals with response to a disaster after it has already occurred. It includes the team to mitigate the disaster the steps to be taken to recover data and how to handle communications.
Types of Disaster Recovery
Contrary to popular belief, disaster recovery can be done in several ways. It all depends on the disaster, your goals as a company and resources:
- Manual Backups
This is how most businesses deal with data backups. From time to time, a company backs up crucial company files to the cloud depending on urgency. It’s a time-consuming process but it’s better than no plan at all.
- Automatic Backup
Automatic backups are self-explanatory. You set up a cloud storage account and enable automatic backup for specific or all files in your company. This ensures you can recover every piece of information in case of a disaster.
- Disaster Recovery as a Service
This is an emerging online service that provides businesses with cloud computing and storage services during times of disaster. It’s a way to keep your business in operation if anything happens to on-promise infrastructures.
- Cold Site
This is another traditional disaster recovery strategy that could work for some businesses. It involves having an alternative location where your business could locate to temporarily during a disaster. It’s not feasible for most businesses, though.
- Point in Time Copies
A point in time copy is a snapshot of your database taken at a specific time. It is designed to help you recover data taken an hour, or day before the disaster occurs.
A disaster recovery plan is a strategy for mitigating and recovering from a disaster that could hamper a company’s operations. Usually, a DR plan aims to reduce downtime, costs and protect an organization’s reputation.
Some disasters are preventable, which is why every good DR plan includes preventive measures. It also includes anticipatory measures and steps to be taken when a disaster cannot be avoided.
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