Every business needs a disaster recovery plan. If it’s been several years since you’ve updated your plan, now is a great time to take a second look. If your business has any kind of online presence, then it carries some risk of data loss, no matter how small your business may be.
Still, when it comes to data protection and backup plans, a lot of business owners find themselves at a loss. Where exactly do you start? And what makes a disaster recovery plan so important? Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you need to know.
Why You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan
Obviously, major corporations need disaster recovery plans. After all, they use a lot of data and have a lot of digital assets that require protection. But do SMBs really need comprehensive plans, and is the need really that urgent? The answer to both questions is yes, and here are some reasons why.
Every Business Uses Data
Again, if your business exists online, it generates digital data. It probably also collects data from clients. Your business has a responsibility to protect that information. If you run a small or medium-sized business, you may not use or generate as much data as a global corporation, but you still work with valuable data.
Hackers Target Vulnerabilities
Your SMB needs a disaster recovery plan as a protective measure against hackers. Hackers don’t always target the largest online businesses. In fact, more often than not, they’ll look for smaller options. Hackers expect large corporations to have lots of protections in place. They also know that SMBs tend to have fewer protections. SMBs, therefore, make easier targets with faster payoffs.
Get Back to Business Fast
Disasters come with high costs, and one of those costs comes from delayed business. If disaster strikes your company, you may have to pause your work while you address that disaster. If you have a documented recovery plan, that pause won’t last for too long because you’ll already have a step-by-step guide to getting back on track. On the other hand, if you don’t have a recovery plan, you’ll have to figure everything out as you go. The latter option takes a lot longer than the former, and it can put business on hold for longer than you can afford. Creating a recovery plan takes some work up front, but that work could save you a lot of time when it matters the most.
How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
You know that your business needs a disaster recovery plan. Next, you’ll need to know where to start. If this is your first time creating a comprehensive recovery plan, have patience with the process. Make sure that you don’t rush through any of the following steps. The more thorough your process is, the more effective your plan will be.
Assess Your Hardware, Software, and Data
Ready.gov, a US government organization dedicated to disaster preparedness, recommends that you start by taking inventory. Work with your IT team, and do a complete assessment of your company’s hardware, software, and data. This way, you’ll gain a complete understanding of your data assets and their potential vulnerability points. It’s important that you don’t skip this step. Forgetting a piece of hardware or software is easier than you might think, and if you forget to catalog something, you may leave that asset vulnerable.
Create a Data Backup Plan
Next, create a backup plan for everything in your company that stores data. Your disaster recovery plan should include a second copy of your important data so that you can retrieve that information in case of loss. Ideally, you should store the backup copies in a separate location from the original data. This way, if your data is struck by a physical disaster such as a fire or flood, your backup data will remain at a safe distance.
Perform Regular Data Backups
Of course, a single backup won’t create a truly effective disaster recovery plan. Your data will update, and you’ll gain additional data. That’s why it’s important to perform regular data backups. Make sure that you build these regular backups into your plan. It’s also a good idea to revisit your data plan once a year or so and go through each step one at a time. This way, you can keep protecting your data even as you gain new hardware and software.
Document and Save Your Plan
As you solidify your disaster recovery plan, document that plan and keep it in a safe but accessible place. Your IT team members should also know how to access the plan.
Cloud Storage as a Data Backup Tool
Having backup copies of your data is perhaps the most important part of keeping a disaster recovery plan. Thankfully, you have a lot of options that you can use for those backups. Some business owners use additional hardware, for example, and keep that hardware at a separate location.
Others use cloud backups instead. Ready.gov recognizes cloud storage as a simple and cost-effective solution. Cloud storage can also help you save time, since you can use it to implement automatic backups and updates. As a result, you can simplify your post-disaster options and recover lost data without hassle.
Implement the First Steps
If you choose cloud storage for disaster recovery reasons, you’ll still want to choose the right service provider. Some cloud providers are better than others. For example, the right cloud provider will have specific protocols to protect its hardware from fire, theft, and other potential disasters.
Your cloud service provider should also give you options. For example, Solar VPS provides options for Windows Cloud, Linux Cloud, and even cloud apps that our clients can pick and choose as they need. Affordability also matters, which is why Solar VPS provides services starting at $5 per month.
Finding the right cloud service provider and implementing a disaster recovery plan can be daunting. The important thing is getting started. Start by taking a look at your cloud options now. Once you do, backing up your data becomes simple.