Whether the culprit is a natural disaster, security breach, or technological malfunction, losing valuable company data is every professional’s nightmare.
All businesses should have data recovery procedures in place, regardless of how large or small the company is. Well-established disaster scenario plans can be the difference between remaining competitive or floundering in your industry.
Establish Preventative Measures
- Every company should have the best well-researched practices in line for data backup, and all employees should be drilled about the importance of following these procedures.
- Valuable files should be backed up every 24 hours. This process can be automated, but the automation should be manually checked at least once per week.
- All files should be backed up to a secure server, preferably cloud-based, on a weekly or biweekly basis.
- Major software updates should be completed monthly at a minimum, and all computers should be backed up again immediately before any software or hardware updates are implemented.
Data Recovery Procedures
Staying diligent about your data backups will greatly help with business continuity in the event of a disaster.
- Inventory Your Assets
Before you can make an effective plan, you should determine which assets need to be protected. Do you have servers with sensitive data? Is your equipment protected from power surges? Do you have backup batteries installed in sensitive electronics?
- Create a Detailed Resource Analysis:
When preparing for a worst-case scenario, businesses should determine the minimal amount of resources and data that would be needed to continue operating throughout the recovery process.
This is most easily accomplished through a service-level outlook that can be presented to management. The information is able to outline what an effective data recovery budget would be and why it would be necessary. When executives can plainly see the impact a major data loss would cause, they tend to take it more seriously.
- Define a Contingency Plan:
When developing a strong contingency plan, be sure to include the following:
– Clear expectations for employees during the data recovery process.
– Detailed explanations of each department’s role in the recovery procedure.
– Detailed schedule for training exercises, routine data backup, and IT maintenance.
- Test the Plan
Once you have a plan, it must be tested to determine whether or not it will be effective during a real disaster.
Generally, recovery follows a three-step process: activation, restoration, and return to normalcy.
Activation occurs when disaster strikes and the plan must be implemented. Once the appropriate teams have been mobilized, restoration begins, and the core of the plan is put into effect. After your company’s data has been restored, the business must decide whether to switch back to the primary infrastructure or continue operating on the backup system. Testing will help you decide which route is most effective.
Prophylaxis is Key
Data disasters can’t always be avoided, but their effects can be mitigated. Developing and implementing strong data restoration procedures will ensure that your business is prepared to handle the worst.