These 5 disaster recovery mistakes could shut down your business

These 5 disaster recovery mistakes could shut down your business

Running a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) always comes with various risks that can cripple operations. For instance, Toronto businesses face the risk of disasters like fires, floods and major weather events as well as cyberattacks that can prevent employees from carrying out their normal tasks.

This is why every SMB must have a solid disaster recovery plan (DRP) that ensures the security of its data, systems, and employees and keeps operations running even in the event of a disaster. And while it pays to know what to do when creating a DRP, knowing what not to do is also invaluable.

Beware of the following disaster recover mistakes that can cost you your business:

Not testing the DRP regularly

Many companies test their DRP without actually testing it: they merely read through the strategies and approve them if the processes seem right. Unfortunately, this is a surefire way to miss subtle errors in the recovery plan. Without testing the steps in your DRP using realistic scenarios, you won’t know if they would actually work. Often, strategies on paper don’t go as planned, and the DRP fails when an actual disruption occurs.

On the other hand, testing the DRP by simulating possible challenges during the recovery process allows you to plan for a successful DRP execution. By running mock recovery tests to determine if the proposed procedures are effective, you can identify weaknesses in your DRP and rectify them.

What’s more, running your plan regularly enables you to customize your DRP based on your needs and capabilities. A DRP is not a one-size-fits-all solution; even if a procedure works for a company similar to yours, it may not be the best fit for you. Regularly test your DRP, especially if your risk position changes.

Not considering enough disasters

One of the biggest mistakes SMB owners make is skipping risk assessments altogether or having incomplete risk assessments that overlook certain kinds of disasters, such as workplace accidents and machinery hazards.

Risk assessment is a critical part of disaster recovery planning because it involves discovering different kinds of potential operational disruptions, including those that may be unique to your SMB’s location, industry, or setup. And by understanding the disasters you should watch out for, their probability, and how they might impact your business, you can create a more informed DRP that will enable your business to swiftly recover.

Not setting RTOs

A quick recovery speed is critical in mitigating the effects of a disaster. As such, you should always set a recovery time objective (RTO), which dictates how quickly recovery should be completed to avoid drastic business consequences.

Different RTOs can be applied to specific systems based on the latter’s importance in the business chain. For instance, mission-critical tasks could have an RTO of five hours max, while archives could have a longer RTO at 72 hours. Without an RTO, your team will not have a target for how quickly recovery needs to happen. They may not work as efficiently and take longer than they need to, leading to business catastrophes like missed deadlines, bottlenecks, or severe data loss.

Not setting RPOs

Not to be confused with an RTO, a recovery point objective (RPO) sets the goal for how recent your backups should be in order to ensure business continuity. An impact analysis should help you calculate the accurate RPOs of different systems and determine which data you should be backing up daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.

Without the right RPOs, you run the risk of having backups that are too outdated to be useful. This can result in permanent data loss, which, in turn, leads to more devastating problems down the line.

Related article: Business continuity planning: Where to start?

Overlooking the people involved in the DRP

One grave mistake SMB owners make is focusing their DRP efforts on IT equipment and data while failing to set up response protocols that employees should follow in the event of a disaster.

Your workers are the ones in charge of running your operations. It’s only prudent to inform them of your DRP and equip them with skills that will enable them to fulfill the roles expected of them during a disaster. You should also consider cross-training employees in certain processes so that, if need be, they could take over for a colleague temporarily while you roll out the rest of your DRP. When your employees are prepared to handle a calamitous scenario, your business can get back up and running more quickly.

Your human resources are also considered your assets, so you must ensure their safety in case disaster strikes. Create a recovery manual that includes step-by-step instructions regarding your contingency plans. This manual should contain employee emergency contacts, up-to-date access credentials, contact information of relevant agencies, and other essential points.

Need a disaster recovery plan that works? XBASE Technologies can help you create one. Stay several steps ahead of whatever could go wrong and bring your business back on line quickly with our EXponentially Better™ disaster recovery services. Call us today: 647-697-7710.