We recently spoke about the importance of protecting your data against loss, theft, damage and other unforeseen issues that could have a major impact on your business. One of the points we touched upon in this article was regarding the need for businesses to put into place a suitable disaster recovery plan.
This is all, well, good and indeed extremely important when considering the integrity of data and other crucial elements in your business – but what exactly do we mean when we talk about disaster recovery? And, to take things a step further – what plans can you make for the continuity of your business in general, should you fall victim to fire, flood or other untimely crisis?
Keeping Your Business Operational Should The Worst Occur
In many respects, the idea of having a business continuity plan sounds very much as though it is the formalised application of common sense. In reality, of course, planning for occasions when things go wrong is often overlooked by even the otherwise diligent operators. And, while the likelihood is that your business will never fall victim to a worst-case scenario event – you are really chancing your arm by not having a plan should something happen.
So what should we be considering?
Ok, as we’ve already touched upon this, let’s start with your data.
The information we store on our computers and other I.T. components is, for most businesses, of the utmost importance to how you operate with data loss one of the most potentially damaging things to occur.
This is why, as an I.T. support service, we will always advise strongly that your data is adequately backed up and stored on alternate servers and/or alternate locations. As we’ve discussed before, the advent and growth of things such as virtual servers and cloud-based storage mean that you should always be able to have a suitable facility to protect your data under any circumstance.
Email & Communication Systems
Being able to continue operations will be greatly enhanced if you’ve given consideration to how your internal and external communications can be maintained should your premises be compromised in any way.
Ensuring you and your staff can gain access to email systems remotely, for instance, will help communication with both your colleagues and, crucially your customers.
Hardware and Other Office Equipment
If your office is damaged or otherwise compromised and out of commission, do you have access to backup equipment to keep the business running?
Tying in with your data backup, maybe you have a contingency where you can gain access to your system through remote means via a laptop or similar device. Or, do you have the facility to store backup equipment at an alternate site? Maybe you have a disaster recovery plan with your I.T. support provider that allows you access to hardware and other equipment which gets your operations back up and running again quickly after the event.
Alternate Sites or Office Locations
If there’s been a fire or other incident that has made your office or place of work inaccessible then it’s really important that this situation doesn’t bring your business to a standstill.
Of course, there may not be an easy solution to this particular problem; nevertheless, when you are mapping out your business continuity plans giving real thought to contingencies for when your offices are closed should be seriously considered. Whether this is enabling staff the ability to work from home as required or relocating to another site (if you have more than one), having an idea of what to do prior to anything occurring will certainly lessen the impact should you be plunged into that situation.