Disaster recovery is a set of plans and strategies designed to help a business recover after natural disasters, cyberattacks and other interruptions. This proactive approach can help a business resume normal operations faster following a disaster.
The Financial Impact of Disasters
Businesses are more accessible than ever before; 24/7 support and digital marketing leave a smaller window for downtime. When a disaster hits, unprepared businesses are hit with the downtime of recovery and getting back to normal operations. Unfortunately, the cost of downtime is higher than ever; mid-sized businesses may lose up to $74,000 every hour of downtime.
These costs may result in a business shutting down permanently, and the ones that do stay open may take months to recover. Look at the example of Hurricane Harvey. Two thousand businesses had to apply for additional loans after the storm hit, and not all affected businesses were in Texas. Businesses in Florida and Pennsylvania also saw major losses from the storm. The storm racked up over $190 billion in damages, with some of the top costs being business disruptions and unemployment costs.
Around the world, businesses are underprepared for disaster. A 2011 IDC survey showed that if disaster struck, a majority of large businesses in the Asia-Pacific market would lose functionality of more than half of their systems in the aftermath. When the Petya ransomware attack struck some major Australian corporations, IT outages caused downtime for legal firms, courier companies, confecitoners and airlines across cities.
Business can be hard enough without disaster. But when disaster strikes, businesses that do bounce back often have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Disaster Recovery Plans
In order to create a disaster recovery plan, your business will have to assess your risk of different disasters and create multiple backup plans for each type. A common mistake in disaster recovery occurs when businesses focus solely on hurricanes, tornadoes or once-in-a-lifetime natural disasters. About 55% of business disasters are caused by hardware failure; 22% are caused by simple human error. It’s vital to have plans in place for if a big storm occurs, like mapping out physical evacuation routes. But don’t forget to include plans for man-made disasters like data breaches and system failures.
Whether the disaster is natural or man-made, one of the top losses a business will face during a disaster is their data. Natural disasters or security breaches can threaten to shut down your local network. Many disaster recovery plans involve backing up data to a cloud or a remote location so that it can be recovered from a remote location if the local system is disrupted.
Disaster recovery plans should also take into account how the business will reach its customers and partners during a disaster. If phone lines are down or power is running thin, your team will need a backup plan so that you can communicate internally and externally with your customers and supply chain.
Internal communication and recovery will also involve paying your employees. Much like backing up data on a cloud, a third-party or cloud-based payroll system is key to ensuring that your team will be taken care of in case of an emergency.
Disaster Recovery Management
These strategies can’t be created when disaster is about to strike. Disaster recovery requires constant work before danger becomes imminent. Data backup must be consistently monitored, verified, and tested as if an emergency could happen at any moment. Resources must be set aside. New employees should be educated on your disaster recovery plan and their roles and responsibilities. Following up with yearly meetings or memos to refresh your team’s memory on what to do after a disaster is vital.
All this work can be done with the help of a security firm that creates and manages disaster recovery and business continuity alongside the rest of your cybersecurity needs. Download this free ebook for more information on how you can keep your business safe throughout disasters, data breaches and more.