How to Prepare Your Organization for a Disaster

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 03-26-2014 Email Print this article Print

Disasters arrive in many ways—from tornados to floods to ice storms to blizzards to wildfires to mudslides. (Not to mention those garden-variety power outages.) Frequently, they're not easy to anticipate, so organizations must be prepared for anything in advance. The stakes are high: 43 percent of companies that experience a major data loss do not reopen, according to industry research. And four of five organizations that do not recover from a significant data loss within one month are likely to go out of business in the immediate future. Yet, even with these foreboding figures, too many companies are lagging when it comes to disaster-recovery planning. In fact, three-quarters of workers feel their employers are not well prepared for these incidents. With this in mind, Evolve IP has produced a thorough disaster-recovery checklist, from which we've included 12 highlights. The list covers the recruitment of disaster-team personnel, data backup, data-center continuity and cloud support, among other topics. Given that CIOs play a lead role in this planning, it's worthwhile to review the list to make sure you're on top of all of the essentials. For more about the checklist (subscription required), click here

  • Build a Team

    Your disaster recovery team should include mission-critical employees from every department, with backups for each individual. Elect one spokesperson from the group for communications.
    Build a Team
  • Spread the News

    Establish disaster recovery representatives at each remote location to work with the corporate-based team.
    Spread the News
  • Conduct an Inventory

    Identify all communications—e-mail, toll-free lines, call centers, VPNs and so on—which are most vital to keep business running at acceptable levels.
    Conduct an Inventory
  • Produce a Contact Sheet

    Create a list of key operational contacts throughout the organization to keep business running, along with multiple ways to reach them should disaster strike.
    Produce a Contact Sheet
  • Set a Recovery Time Objectives

    The recovery time objective is the maximum duration of time allowable for complete restoral after a disruption to maintain acceptable business continuity.
    Set a Recovery Time Objectives
  • Set a Recovery Point Objective

    The recovery point objective is the maximum tolerable period in which data can be lost from an IT service due to an incident.
    Set a Recovery Point Objective
  • Rank Accordingly

    Rank all systems according to low-high recovery time objective and recovery point objective ratings, to prioritize what gets attention first after a disaster.
    Rank Accordingly
  • Incorporate Cloud Backup

    Produce a written recovery plan that is hosted remotely in a secure and redundant data center.
    Incorporate Cloud Backup
  • Conduct Disaster-Recovery Drills

    Schedule and test your plan at least once a year in accordance with regulatory and compliance requirements. This should include the assurance that employees can access the hosted environment on-site and remotely during fail-over mode.
    Conduct Disaster-Recovery Drills
  • Get Suppliers On Board

    Validate their service-level agreements every quarter and make sure that core applications are operating at 99.999% availability.
    Get Suppliers On Board
  • Stock Up

    Purchase uninterrupted power supplies and provide for generator access where necessary for an on-premise data center. Determine alternative ways to power the system if fuel trucks can't get to your locations for several days.
    Stock Up
  • Secure the Tapes

    If you use physical tape backup for data, remove those tapes daily and store in a secure, easily accessed public building with at least two to three employees possessing keys.
    Secure the Tapes
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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