IT disasters can range from a minor inconvenience to a dilemma that brings your work to a screeching halt, and they are more common than you might think. Things can go wrong in many ways – even something as simple as someone deleting information by mistake.
An IT disaster recovery plan is a type of business continuity plan that helps ensure your data and infrastructure can be restored or recovered in case of an unexpected issue. Learn more about IT disasters, what an IT disaster recovery plan can help with, and how to handle your IT disaster recovery planning process.
What are some examples of an IT disaster?
An IT disaster can come in many forms. Most of these disasters fall into three categories: malware and ransomware, regional and environmental problems, or hardware or software failure.
Malware and ransomware
One of the biggest threats to companies today is malware and ransomware. Even large companies with the best security can still be compromised without the right recovery plan or end-user education in place. Malware refers to any malicious software designed to disrupt or damage a network or device. Ransomware is a type of malware that cybercriminals use to blackmail users or block system access until a ransom is paid. Having suitable backups and a robust IT disaster recovery plan will prepare you for this common modern disaster.
Regional and environmental problems
Regional or local problems can cause companies to face unique IT disasters, such as extreme weather conditions, car accidents, or an act of vandalism or arson. These issues can result in extended power outages or prevent you from accessing your office. Working in an office space can also come with environmental problems outside your control. A leaky ceiling, broken water pipe, or office fire can cause data loss or system, equipment, and structural damage that disrupts your work or keeps you from accessing onsite systems.
Hardware or software failure
While ideally, technology would work correctly all the time, this is not always the case. Your server could crash, a piece of hardware could fail, or a software update could corrupt a crucial system. Having an IT disaster recovery plan is crucial to getting these systems back up and running.
What does an IT disaster recovery plan do?
Having an IT disaster recovery plan is a way to prepare for the unexpected, which allows you to continue operating in the event of a disaster. With the right IT disaster recovery plan in place, you can restore access to systems if they go down, restore data if it gets corrupted or deleted, and restore access to data even if you can’t access your office space.
No solution is bulletproof; there are a million ways an IT disaster can strike, and it would be impossible – or at least very, very expensive – to prepare for every single scenario. However, having the basics in place at a minimum is incredibly important to ensure your work will not be disrupted.
In your IT disaster recovery planning process, make sure to address at least the following:
- Have good backups of your data
- Know what to do if you can no longer physically access your office
- Think about what systems need to be running in a worst-case scenario
- Document your plan and include a process for training and practicing
Remember, there is no point in going through a complete IT disaster recovery planning process if you don’t have the time, money, or ability to execute that plan if you need to. Ensure your team always knows who to call or what to do to execute your IT disaster recovery plan and get your critical systems back up and functioning correctly.
What happens if you don’t have an IT Disaster recovery plan?
If your company does not have an IT disaster recovery plan, you are not alone. Startups and small companies, in particular, often do not have a plan in place to help them recover from IT disasters.
Without an IT disaster recovery plan, you put your company at risk of having to start over from scratch, or at the very least, facing a costly recovery process. When data loss occurs with no backup, some recovery options may be available depending on how extensive the problem is. However, these options will either be pricey or may end up being a lost cause.
Even if you do not lose your data, an IT disaster could slow or completely stop your work until your power, systems, or physical access can be restored. An IT disaster recovery plan reduces the amount of time needed to get your company functional again.
You may not be sure if you have an IT disaster recovery plan or if your plan is sufficiently secure in case of power failures, Internet or other outages, or hardware issues. If you don’t know if you have an IT disaster recovery plan, the best thing to do is ask your MSP to assess your contracts, review your environment, and provide an analysis report or further direction to put a plan in place.
How extensive should your IT disaster recovery plan be?
Every company is different, so your IT disaster recovery plan should be as extensive as your company requires it to be. Ask your MSP to help you through your IT disaster recovery planning process to ensure your bases are covered.
For example, if you have equipment writing data to the cloud, or instruments running 24/7, you will want to ensure you have redundant internet circuits in case of an internet outage. You should also consider backup batteries and generator power for systems that need to remain running around the clock.
If you rely on servers, a network, or scientific machines that are putting data somewhere, you need to make sure you have at least the basics in place to be able to respond and recover from disasters. This type of disaster recovery plan is essential to allow you to keep your business running or science moving forward.
Does your company have an IT disaster recovery plan ready? Do not wait for disaster to strike. Get in touch with your experts at Data Evolution to ensure you will be prepared and your work will be protected in a disaster.