Does my business need an IT disaster recovery plan?

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We rely on IT more and more in every sphere of our lives. In business, a well-designed IT system makes the storage and retrieval of information and data more convenient and efficient, reduces much of the potential for human error, speeds up many of our processes and helps to protect us from the threat of cybercrime. 

It’s easy and very tempting to sit back, wonder at the marvels of modern technology and expect it all to just keep ticking over and happily managing everything. Unfortunately, even in the world of IT, life is never that simple. We should know by now that if there is the potential for something to go wrong, somewhere, somehow, it will.

This month, we’re extolling the virtues of reasonable levels of paranoia and explaining why you should always be prepared for when things go wrong.

IT disasters do happen

In 2012, Knight Capital Group introduced some new software that was supposed to help make them a fortune on the stock market; unfortunately, when it was turned on, coding errors that had gone undetected through all the testing decided that this was the time to kick in. The company inadvertently went on an unplanned $7 billion spending spree that ultimately cost them about $440 million.

We mentioned before that a good IT system can reduce the potential for human error. According to online security experts Kaspersky, however, it’s human error that will usually find its way around even your most complex and comprehensive cybersecurity systems. 

There are other risks, of course, including floods and fires, power surges and power cuts, criminal acts from external sources and disgruntled employees, and even basic hardware failure. 

Amidst a wide range of statistics surrounding this issue reported in the US in 2022, it was found that 40-60% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster, with 90% failing within a year if they are unable to restore operations within five days of that disaster occurring. On the other hand, 96% of businesses with a disaster recovery plan in place fully recovered their operations after a data loss incident.

So it seems that an IT disaster recovery plan is a good idea…but would that involve? 

What is an IT disaster recovery plan?

Quite simply, an IT disaster recovery plan spells out what you need to do in the event of a range of disasters, so that instead of wasting time panicking and holding emergency meetings, you already have a strategy in place. Of course, while you’re at it, it would also make sense to review and incorporate measures to help prevent a disaster from happening in the first place.

Your IT disaster recovery planning will probably include the following steps:

  • Identifying the hardware, software and data you use to run your business
  • Making sure all your essential data is regularly backed up off site
  • Establishing a recovery time objective (RTO) to establish how long you’d have to get critical operations up and running before serious repercussions would be felt
  • Establishing a recovery point objective (RPO) to establish the minimum amount of data required to resume your operations
  • Allocating responsibilities for dealing with every action that will be needed immediately following the disaster happening
  • Ensuring alternative means of communication will be available between key personnel should the normal channels be inoperational

This is not a complete list of actions – each business will have its own unique risks and issues, so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to disaster planning. When considering disaster recovery for IT systems, your starting point should be a comprehensive risk assessment to identify what could go wrong, what might prevent it, what would be the impact if you failed to prevent it, and how you’d need to respond.

Pickl can help protect your business by working with you to establish effective IT systems and create a practicable IT disaster recovery plan. With years of experience helping businesses in and around London, Reading and Guildford with all their IT issues, our team can provide the knowledge and IT support you need to ensure you’re prepared for all eventualities. 

Get in touch with us now to find out more.