The basics of backup and disaster recovery planning

Backup and disaster recovery (BDR) is one of the most fundamental components of your business, this is what will save you if a disaster occurs. We are going to go over the most basic but also most important characteristics your BDR plan should include. For any small business, this will lay the perfect foundation for your BDR strategy.

Why backup and disaster recovery matters.

Before we dig in, a brief word about why backup and disaster recovery is so important. Consider this quote from Forbes:

“Data is the new business currency and carries a high value of wealth, and as the volume and value of data continue to increase, the threat of disaster also increases. Organizations, especially those that provide critical services, cannot afford downtime, and as a result, disaster recovery (DR) will become an even greater business priority.”

Said another way, a disaster is anything that causes downtime.

When your network is down, you can’t maintain normal operations. Every minute (or hour or day) you spend scrambling to get back online is time and money out the door.

The starter kit for back up and disaster recovery

Got your attention? Good. Now, for those BDR basics.

Off-site backups and storage

During any kind of disaster, quick access to your data is key to minimizing downtime. Every company should maintain regularly scheduled, frequent backups for continuous data protection. That way, if anything goes wrong with the primary copy, you always have another.

While on-site backups are convenient, off-site backups provide the most protection.

A documented plan that evolves with you

CPA reports that “. . . most small-business owners (68 percent) still don’t have a written disaster recovery plan.” That’s alarming. Without a written plan, disaster recovery is chaotic.

So take the time to write out a formal, prepared disaster recovery plan before you need it.

Document important things like the processes you’ll follow, contact information for internal and external contacts, and how you’ll handle customer communication. Define the things that keep your business running (data backup, computer equipment, email accessibility, etc.), and even give thought to how quickly you’ll need to resume normal business post-disaster to avoid substantial loss.

Then provide clear instructions to your team, and make sure someone has responsibility for executing the plan. 

Test your disaster recovery plan

We recommend that you test your disaster recovery plan at least once a year. Here’s why.

A BDR plan can look amazing on paper, and end up being a miserable failure in practice. You don’t want to discover that key components are missing when you actually need the plan to work. It’s so much better to know beforehand.

After each annual test, make any needed updates so you’re ready if the worst should happen.

Taking things to the next level.

It’s time to get candid.

Often, small to midsize businesses lack the technical personnel, budget, or time to internally design and implement complete disaster recovery plans. This is sophisticated stuff, and a lot is riding on it.

According to GovTech 40 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster. This could literally make or break your company.

Which is why we have one final piece of BDR advice. Don’t take a DIY approach with this. Call in the pros. Partner up with a managed services provider to ensure you’re truly ready for disasters of all kinds.

Get your BDR plan in motion

Naturally, we’d be happy to give you a hand, but even if you choose to work with one of our competitors, please talk to someone. When disaster strikes, it affects the whole community. We care here at IND, and we want every SMB owner in our area to be prepared. To learn more about disaster planning, reach out to us today.