Ensuring Business Continuity After a Disaster

Some disasters are difficult to recover from regardless of how well you plan. For example, if your building is totaled in a fire, it’s going to take longer than a few days to get up and running again. However, we’re talking about disasters that hit your infrastructure and affect your data. 

Things like a power outage, human error, or a cybersecurity breach—these are disasters every business should anticipate. Ensuring business continuity with disaster recovery plans is the best way to prevent extended interruptions to daily operations.

Chances are you have a disaster recovery plan in place, but are you positive it doesn’t have any gaps? You may be surprised to learn it’s not uncommon for DRPs to have occasional gaps. These gaps can be the difference in getting back to normal in a few minutes or taking hours. To help better inform you, here are three common gaps in a disaster recovery plan.

Unaware or Poorly Trained Staff

Cyber and ransomware attacks are becoming more common and they’re not only affecting large corporations. Smaller businesses are also at risk. Cybercriminals often view smaller businesses as easier targets compared to large organizations that typically have more robust security protocols in place.

To mitigate your risks, regardless of your company’s size, you have an effective DRP ready to go if a disaster occurs. You’re confident in your plan’s ability to recover any lost data quickly and efficiently. Whether you’re the business owner or manager, you think you’re ready for just about anything. However, what about your staff? Are they familiar with the DRP? Do they even know there’s one they should follow?

Surprisingly, not informing staff of an existing DRP is a common mistake. This gap in planning can also have disastrous consequences. Instead of immediately jumping to work retrieving data and getting systems back up and running, they’re wondering what steps they should take. Along with letting your staff know about the DRP, you’ll also want to set aside time for training. Your staff also needs to be familiar with and understand the steps, otherwise your DRP is useless.

Who should you train? Your IT personnel should be obvious. However, you also want to think about who accesses the data. Include these staff members in the training sessions.

Know What Qualifies as Suspicious Activity

Your IT department should be keeping up with the latest cyberattack trends. Yes, these trends change every time there’s a technological advance. If hackers don’t adjust their tactics, eventually, they won’t pose a threat. Since this isn’t likely to happen, your IT team needs to be aware of these changes.

If you haven’t already stressed the importance of staying up-to-date with your IT team, it’s time to have that conversation.

Your IT personnel aren’t the only ones who can monitor your network. Don’t forget about your staff using it every day. From opening emails to clicking on links, they can unknowingly be placing your network at risk. Train your employees on how to recognize suspicious emails and links. This is an effective way of minimizing your risks.

If you end up with malware in your system, ensure employees know how to properly report the breach. Even if your DRP is monitoring your network in real time, prompt reporting can be crucial to prevent any long-term damage. If caught early enough, you may be able to prevent a breach from happening.

Keep Up with Technology

Your DRP is only as effective as the tools it contains. Remember how technology is constantly advancing? This applies to the tools in your DRP. Your DRP may have been effective last year, but there’s a good chance it’s now outdated, which means you’re not ready to mitigate any damage if a disaster occurs.

A common gap in DPRs that can affect a business’s continuity is not updating the data recovery plan. How often you update your DRP often depends on your business and the type of data you’re storing. There may be industry compliance standards to consider, and this can affect your timeline for updates.

When you’re updating your DRP, bring in all of the stakeholders, which includes your IT department. Listen to their advice. You should also include department heads and any staff who frequently access the data.

Avoiding Gaps in Your DPR Can Help Ensure Business Continuity

Indeed, maintaining and updating your Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) can be a demanding process, yet it is absolutely crucial for ensuring the resilience of your business operations in the face of potential disasters. 

Regularly revisiting your DRP is key to aligning it with current technologies and operational practices, which evolve over time. Additionally, investing in comprehensive staff training is essential, as a well-informed team is fundamental to the effective implementation of your DRP when needed.