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Disaster Recovery: How to create the best strategy

Your disaster recovery strategy should identify what you need to do now to prepare for the worst – and what you need to do then to recover from it.

In my previous blog, I explained why every organisation needs an effective disaster recovery plan.

I talked about how an alarming number of small and medium organisations have inadequate safeguards against a crisis – or no safeguards at all. And how some feel a false sense of security because they’ve backed up their data ‘in the cloud’ – without scrutinising what this really means.

As recent high profile incidents have demonstrated, even some of the largest organisations are insufficiently prepared.

So, how can you ensure your organisation has the right disaster recovery strategy to truly protect you should the worst happen?


Risk analysis

First, you need to look hard at all the risks facing your organisation. They could be:

  • Malicious – like theft, break-in or vandalism
  • Physical – such as flood, fire or something which prevents access to your premises
  • Major disturbances – like power cuts, terrorism or even an office move

Weigh up the likelihood of each and the possible impact on your business.


What now? What then?

Your disaster recovery strategy should identify what you need to do now to prepare for the worst – and what you need to do then to recover from it.

If disaster strikes, the goal is for you and your team to know exactly what to do and swing into action to ensure minimal disruption to your business.

Walk through the possible situations in your mind and consider the consequences:

  • If your building is suddenly put out of action, how will you let all your staff know?
  • Where will they work to keep your business running until you can get back in?
  • If you don’t have contingency premises, your staff could work from home but how will they stay in touch with each other and your customers? What systems will they use? If they use their own equipment, will it be secure and have the software and connections they need?
  • If your disaster has an impact on your customers, partners and suppliers, what will you tell them? How will you contact them, bearing in mind your usual systems may be out of action?
  • How will you handle media attention if your disaster becomes public? What will people say on social media and how will you respond?

Your disaster recovery strategy needs to include procedures for dealing with any and all challenges you may face. You might not have time to make a decision when disaster strikes!


Your lifeblood

Of course, vitally, you need to protect your business-critical data and ensure it is never becomes lost, corrupted or inaccessible.

Let’s face it, data is the lifeblood of most businesses. Imagine how difficult it would be to function without the IT and data you use every day at work!

If you keep your IT equipment on-site, its highly vulnerable to any disruptions which could affect your premises. As I discussed in my previous post, it isn’t just the obvious risks like fire or flood. It could be roadworks, a burst water main, a blown down tree, even industrial action.


Highly secure data centre

The best way to protect your data is to place it in a highly secure data centre, purpose-built to reduce such risks to an absolute minimum.

A data-centre is a physical fortress in which you can house your IT equipment safe from unauthorised access, physical threats or extremes like terrorism. Highly resilient to natural disasters, it will be thoroughly protected against technical failures like power cuts and lost connectivity.

Crucially, when deciding on data protection in your distater recovery strategy, you have two options:

  1. Retain your primary IT on-site and have a secondary backup in a secure facility
  2. Secure all your IT equipment and servers in a highly secure data centre

Each option has its pros and cons – and very different implications. So, I’ll address these in my next post, which will help guide you on the best route for your organisation.

In the meantime, if we can help in any way to formulate your disaster recovery strategy, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.