No one likes to think about disasters, but they are a very real risk and normally strike when you are least expecting it. The fact that many companies shy away from the conversation means that many are ill prepared when such an event hits..
Statistically speaking, “40% of all businesses that experience a disaster never re-open. Of the remaining businesses, 25% close within the following two years.” (Reference – US Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics.) This is irrespective of size a small/medium company is just as vulnerable as a large corporate.
Even though your IT is just a small part of your DR plan, I thought I’d take the time to look at what technical precaution can be taken by small/medium businesses in order to alleviate the effects of a disaster and improve the chance of your company’s survival.
It all boils down to your Disaster Recovery planning
- It is important to have a clear plan as to what is to be done in the event of a disaster, along with a nominated member of staff or a group of staff to oversee the implementation of this plan in the event of a disaster. It is also important for all staff to know who your nominated person or group is and who to contact in the event of a disaster.
- Your disaster plan along with associated media, instructions, a list of all staff, and a list of all providers (phone, ISP, IT support etc.) should be kept in a safe place onsite and a duplicate kept in a fire proof safe offsite as well. It is also crucial that these documents, lists etc. are regularly updated and nominated members of staff have access to these copies.
- Consider all aspect of your IT, including 3rd party software providers and ensure their contact details and all licensing information is included with the plan. If you do make use of an IT support company ensure their contact details along with your Account Manager details are included as well.
- Keep an up to date list of all you hardware along with serial number etc. as this will come in handy when dealing with insurance companies.
- Communication is the key to keeping your business running as such arrangement should be made with the phone company to divert all call to designated number especially for critical members of staff.
Recovering your IT infrastructure…
Vast improvements in technology over the last few years mean that many companies can now move away from hosting all their information in one place. By the use of cloud services such as hosted exchange and SharePoint a company can ensure that in the event their offices are destroyed or a DOA is put into place, communication between them and their clients can remain intact while other services are being recovered.
A good backup system with Offsite Backups or offsite storage of backup media is another must in order for Information services to be recovered to new hardware. If this is ignored companies may find that all backup information is destroyed leaving no reference point to recover from. It is also worth finding out if your IT support company keeps backups of vital device configuration such as firewall and switch, so recovery of these devices will be a lot easier as well. If you can afford the investment; a virtual infrastructure with a synchronised remote backup is probably one of the best ways to ensure a quicker recovery is achieved.
The use of an external IT support company such as virtual IT can also be of benefit, as we will be able to provide you with loan hardware once a temporary or new location is found. In most cases we will also be able to source essential hardware such as server’s switches etc. a lot quicker due to relationships already in place with a number of hardware suppliers.
Remember that no two companies are the same and hence every companies DR plans will differ. The most important thing to think about is what is vital for the company’s survival and what can be done to prevent its loss. If you require more information on DR Planning or would like to put a DR plan in place, please feel free to contact us on 020 7644 2818 or online.