Downtime after a disaster can cause havoc for any business. Unlike simply rebooting a computer, you can’t press a button and expect your business to return to normal. Investing in a good business continuity and disaster recovery plan is the first step in optimising your business’s recovery. Such a plan differs from a continuity plan and is a detailed series of actions that allows your business to return to its pre-disaster operations. Should the worst happen, a recovery will resemble something along the following lines.
Assessing the damage
The first duty is to address immediate issues. Fixing certain problems can’t be postponed. If your server room is flooded, move them out from there. Make sure your communication channels are functioning; a cloud phone system can be handy in this instance. Call the backup disaster recovery specialist immediately.
Then once the most important and time sensitive issues have been addressed, it’s time to take a step back, avoid panicking and assess the situation. There are a number of questions you need to answer as accurately as possible.
- What state are business operations in?
- What functions have been lost?
- What are the available workarounds for these lost business functions?
- With the unaffected services, is there scope for them to be affected in due course?
- What is the financial impact of these operations being down? If you’ve already carried out a business impact analysis then this should be easier to determine.
- What kind of disaster is it? An external hack? Hardware failure? Malware infiltration etc. Enlist the help of your team and experts as much as you can.
- What are the next steps? Does your business need to relocate to a new site?
This phase will also be a process of assessing which key employees can adequately fulfill their functions on a new site. Take said employees there with their required data and access codes before the rest of the team joins them.
For the businesses wise enough to have invested in cloud recovery and backup, these can be used for restoring a business’s systems. Having real-time back up is an added bonus and will keep data losses to a minimum. To expand a bit, restoration will often play out as follows.
- Environmental Restoration
This involves remedying the root causes. In the case of a natural disaster this will involve repairing walls, fixing electricals and generally conducting any repairs to an impaired physical work environment. In the case of a security breach, patching systems will be needed before the next step.
- Functional Restoration
The key restoration step. This will involve restoring your business processes to a point of minimal functionality. If you have prepared adequately using your backup and recovery plan, then this is when data can start flowing through your systems again.
- Full restoration of Business Functions
Here all recovery plans are in place and you bring your business from basic operability to pre disaster operability. For online only businesses this will be the final step.
For brick and mortar businesses the final step will often require an interim physical location whilst the damaged site is repaired. For brick and mortar businesses without an online presence, an interim website may be advised. An interim site may be equally necessary for web-based businesses that have lost their entire site data.
There will be numerous creases to iron out and elements to test even once the business has been “restored.”
Data may need to be manually recreated. You may wish to make changes if new dependency issues have been highlighted. There may well be new performance issues with your restored systems.
Validation of the implemented IT will also need to be performed at every level. You’ll also want to check backups at the new location are running accordingly so that the same disaster won’t immediately strike again.
If your recovery plan is missing any of these phases it will most likely require some updates and additions. As mentioned in the recovery section, testing should be at the core of everything you aim for in a recovery plan.
If something hasn’t been tested, it’s not a plan you can rely on. A good recovery plan needs care at every stage of the process, and CMI can handle every step of it.
Get in touch here to protect against the worst.