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These days, disaster recovery planning should be treated as an imperative for all businesses. But many businesses don’t have any sort of disaster recovery plan in place. Why are so many business owners neglecting this important institution? And what should you do if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan?

What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a formalized document that dictates how your company will respond to a given disaster. Comprehensive disaster recovery plans sometimes include outlines for what to do in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, but in this context, it usually refers to an IT disaster or cybersecurity disaster. 

In other words, what would your company do if it was the victim of a massive cyberattack?

An IT support firm can help you outline and fine-tune the details of your disaster recovery plan. Creating one entirely on your own, especially in the absence of true cybersecurity expertise, is a massive challenge. Together with your IT support firm, you’ll work on a plan that includes details on at least the following:

  •       The team. Who is going to be responsible for making decisions in the wake of this disaster? Is there a single point person responsible for taking lead? Is there a group of people who are collectively responsible for different tasks? Identify these people and make sure they’re aware of these responsibilities.
  •       The risks. You also need to outline what your biggest risks are. In other words, what are the types of threats that could cause a disaster for your organization, how likely are they, and how would they play out? The more detailed you are here, the better. If you understand the nature of every conceivable threat, including the likelihood and severity of each threat, you’ll be in a much better position to respond to those threats if and when they occur. While disaster recovery is more about recovery than prevention, this risk assessment should also be valuable in helping you form better threat prevention and mitigation strategies.
  •       The critical resources. Next, you’ll need to identify the resources that are most critical for your business to remain operational. Downtime is arguably your biggest immediate financial threat, so one of your biggest priorities is keeping the business up and running. How are you going to protect, restore, and solidify your business’s most critical resources in the wake of a disaster?
  •       The response plan. After that, you’ll need to outline the response plan itself. What systems do you have in place to detect a disaster in progress? What sequence of events needs to happen to make sure your team can respond adequately? What steps do they need to take, and in what order should they take them?
  •       Testing and validation. Penetration testing and other forms of testing and experimentation can help you test the limits of your cybersecurity strategy and your disaster recovery approach. You can think of these like fire drills to examine your disaster recovery plan for weaknesses, so you can make necessary changes before it’s too late.

Why Are So Many Companies Falling Behind?

Why is it that so many companies are falling behind?

  •       Lack of awareness. Some business owners aren’t aware that disaster recovery planning is important. If they don’t understand why this is so critical, or if they don’t have any experts on their team to recommend one, they don’t have a reason to take action. After reading this article, you no longer have this excuse.
  •       Risk underestimation. Other business owners fail to create a disaster recovery plan because they imagined that a disaster could never happen to them. They see their business as too small or unnoticeable to be a legitimate target of attack, and they don’t realize how many other threats exist. With an adequate examination of risks, more business owners would likely be motivated to put together a recovery strategy.
  •       Lack of budget. Planning a disaster recovery strategy can cost both time and money, and some business owners may feel like they can’t afford to create one at this time. But no matter how expensive cybersecurity is, cybercrime is more expensive; it’s going to cost the world an estimated $10.5 trillion a year by 2025. Think of this as an insurance policy.
  •       Lack of human resources. What if you don’t have any experts to help you adequately plan for disaster recovery? The solution here is to hire an external team of experts. With a competent IT team, you can cover all the elements of your disaster recovery strategy in record time.
  •       Lack of formalization. Finally, some businesses have a loose idea of what they would do in the event of a disaster, and they feel this is sufficient. In other words, they have a disaster recovery plan in place, but it’s not formally documented. This is better than not having anything, but it pales in comparison to the value of a formal document.

It’s (Almost) Never Too Late

Here’s the good news: it’s never too late to put together a disaster recovery plan. Well, that’s almost true. If you suffer a disaster without any plan in place, it’s arguably too late to create one. But if your business doesn’t currently have a disaster recovery plan, and you’re not currently in the middle of a disaster, then it’s not too late for you. Assembling a disaster recovery plan should become one of your top priorities.

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