It's a fact of life: disasters happen. But while some businesses are lucky enough to weather the storm, others are not so fortunate. In many cases, the difference between bouncing back and shutting down for good is a well-executed disaster recovery plan (DRP).
Unfortunately, far too many companies make the mistake of either not having a DRP at all or having a plan that is sorely lacking in key areas. Avoid these five disaster recovery mistakes that could spell the end for your business.
1. Not having a DRP
Recovering from a disaster is difficult enough, but it's nearly impossible if you don't have a plan to begin with. A DRP should outline the steps that need to be taken to keep critical business functions up and running in the event of an outage or a crisis. Without a DRP, your business will be left scrambling, and the chances of a successful recovery are slim.
You might think you don't need a DRP because you have insurance, but that's not always enough. Insurance may cover the cost of physical damages, but it won't do anything to mitigate the losses incurred from lost data or downtime. A DRP is the only way to protect your business from the full impact of a disaster.
2. Not testing the DRP regularly
A DRP is only as good as its execution, and you can't know for sure that your plan will work unless you test it regularly. All too often, companies create a DRP and then never give it another thought until a disaster actually strikes. By that point, it's too late.
Testing should be done at least once a year, and more often if possible. Make sure to check and recheck all aspects of the plan, from data backup and recovery to communication protocols. The last thing you want is to find out that your DRP doesn't work when you need it the most.
3. Not considering enough disasters
When creating a DRP, it's essential to consider all the different types of disasters that could potentially affect your business. This includes everything from power outages and hurricanes to cyberattacks and workplace accidents. Performing a thorough risk assessment will help you identify potential hazards — including those that may be unique to your business's location, industry, or setup — and plan accordingly.
Don't think that your business is immune to a particular type of disaster just because it hasn't happened before. It's better to be prepared than to be caught off guard by a disaster that could have been easily prevented.
4. Not setting RTOs and RPOs
Two of the most important aspects of any DRP are the recovery time objective (RTO) and the recovery point objective (RPO). The RTO dictates how quickly critical business functions must be up and running before the downtime adversely impacts the organization. The RPO, on the other hand, sets the goal for how recent data backups need to be to minimize data loss.
Without RTOs and RPOs, it's difficult to measure the effectiveness of a DRP or to know if the plan is working as it should. Make sure to set realistic RTOs and RPOs, and then work backward to determine the steps that need to be taken to meet those objectives.
5. Not establishing an incident response team
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is not having a designated team that will coordinate the response and recovery efforts in the event of a disaster. This team is responsible for implementing the DRP, communicating with stakeholders, and making sure that the recovery process is executed correctly.
Ideally, the incident response team should be composed of individuals from different departments within your business. This way, there's always someone available to take charge in the event of an emergency. This will make it easier to delegate tasks and ensure that everyone knows their role should a disaster occur, helping to minimize confusion and maximize the chances of a successful recovery.
Related reading: Disaster recovery on a budget: Affordable and effective options
Don't wait until a disaster strikes to start thinking about your business's DRP. Use this list of common mistakes as an opportunity to review your plan and make sure that it's up to the task of keeping your business running in the event of an emergency.
Our team of experts at Kortek Solutions can help you create a customized DRP that will keep your business safe, no matter what comes your way. Contact us today to learn more.