Disaster response and recovery: How prepared are you?

Disaster response and recovery: How prepared are you?

Disasters come in many forms. And while a business may be able to mitigate some risks, there is no guarantee that it will be fully protected from every possible hazard. This is why all organizations, including your small- or medium-sized business (SMB) in Canada, should invest in a disaster recovery plan (DRP).

A DRP details how your business will respond to different types of disasters, including what resources you will need and who will be responsible for each step of the recovery process. But how do you know if your DRP strategy is effective? Taking this quiz is a good way to get started.

1. What kinds of disasters should you prepare for?

A. Natural disasters, such as fires, floods, and earthquakes
B. Public health disasters, like pandemics
C. Cyberattacks and other security breaches
D. All of the above

Answer: D. All of the above

It’s important to be prepared for as many kinds of disasters as possible. Companies often make the mistake of preparing only for natural disasters and losing sight of other risks. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed numerous businesses that had no protocols dealing with public health disasters in place.

Businesses should also be prepared for cyberattacks, as these can compromise information or even halt operations. A ransomware attack, for instance, can cripple a company by locking its systems and data until a ransom is paid.

2. What should your disaster and recovery plan contain?

A. The role of every employee in the recovery process
B. How to get in touch with authorities and emergency contacts
C. The target time when systems should be back up and running
D. All of the above

Answer: D. All of the above

An effective DRP contains key information for securing systems and keeping employees safe while minimizing the impacts of a disaster. It must detail what every employee should do before, during, and after a disaster to mitigate risks. It should also include communication protocols, such as who is in charge of informing authorities, key personnel, or employee emergency contacts, as well as how to get in touch with these parties. What’s more, the DRP should outline plans for restoring critical systems and communications, including the recovery time objective of each workload, or the target time to get systems up and running to avoid irreparable damage.

If you're not sure what your DRP should contain, consult with an experienced IT specialist who can help you create a comprehensive plan that meets your specific needs. With proper preparation, you can be confident that your business will stay afloat no matter what comes its way.

3. Where is the best place to store data backups?

A. Across multiple locations
B. On site, in local hard drives
C. On site, on a computer that’s not connected to the internet
D. Off site, in a data center

Answer: A. Across multiple locations

Storing data backups in multiple locations is the best way to protect your data in case of a disaster. By backing up your data off site and storing copies in different locations, you can ensure that your data will be safe no matter what happens. For instance, if a storm hits your area, your data will still be safe if you have a copy of it someplace else. Wherever you decide to store your data off site, make sure that these are easily accessible and retrievable.

4. What security measures should be in place to mitigate the effects of a cybersecurity disaster?

A. Strong encryption mechanisms
C. A cybersecurity-aware workforce
B. Antivirus and anti-malware software
D. All of the above

Answer: D. All of the above

System security is paramount for any SMB. So in the event of a cybersecurity disaster, it’s important to have measures in place to protect your systems and data. Robust encryption technologies scramble your data and prevent third parties from reading it. Meanwhile, antivirus software, firewalls, and malware protection can mitigate the spread of infection to the rest of your systems. On top of these, a cyber-aware workforce can minimize damage by enacting security best practices when security is breached.

5. How often should DRPs be tested?

A. Once a month
B. At least once a year
C. Once every five years
D. DRPs don’t need to be tested

Answer: B. At least once a year

Regularly test your DRP to ensure its effectiveness. Testing helps to identify any weaknesses in the plan and allows for modifications to be made accordingly. It is also important to test your plans with different disasters in mind, as each disaster can present its own unique challenges. Ideally, DRPs should be tested at least once a year. However, depending on the complexity of your plan and the potential risk of a disaster, more frequent testing may be necessary.

Based on your results, do you think your disaster response and recovery strategy is effective? A well-crafted disaster and recovery plan can mean the difference between survival and closure in the event of a major incident. Our experts at XBASE Technologies can help you create and test a solid DRP, so your business is equipped to deal with any type of emergency in an organized and efficient manner. Drop us a line today.