Companies disaster recovery plans can no longer ignore digital information. Likewise, businesses cannot think of a digital disaster only in terms of a virus or crashed hard drive. As the physical world and digital world continue to merge, businesses must be prepared for when a physical disaster has digital effects. The recent havoc caused by Hurricane Sandy serves as a tragic reminder of how devastating a natural disaster can be. Companies must not only have physical disaster recovery plans in place to run business, known as Business Continuity, also need to be digitally prepared for an event like this.
Being Digitally Prepared
A digital disaster recovery plan begins with backing data up at an off-site location. Storing copies on company servers and hard drives protects against computer viruses and failed equipment, but it does not prevent the loss of data during a fire, storm or earthquake. The only way to protect digital information from physical disasters is to store it at another geographical place, such as on a cloud service providers servers.
Once data is backed up at another location, businesses must ensure its accessibility. In the aftermath of a catastrophe, employees will be accessing data from various points. They may be working from home, a hotel or another location. Maintaining proper security guards at these locations poses specific challenges, especially at public locations. Depending on the sensitivity of data accessed, users might need special software or even their own access point, such as a separate internet connection.
Knowing How To Respond
A disaster recovery plan is not a reaction, but a pre-designed plan; tested occasionally and verified. Both business leaders and employees must be ready to respond during a calamity, before one strikes.
From a business standpoint, accessing data remotely will increase the cost of continuing operations until the company has recovered. If many employees need to use confidential information, these costs can escalate quickly. Business leaders must understand these costs, but they also must know how to reduce the impact a disaster has on the IT budget. By paying for synchronization and its use, when needed, companies can control the expenses associated with backing up and using data remotely.
Company leaders are also responsible for guiding their employees through a disaster recovery and ensuring operations remain as normal as possible. Being prepared for the disaster through off-site backup and access abilities is only worth the investment required, if employees understand how to access the information. Employees should not simply be told what the protocols are for remotely accessing company data during a disaster, but they should actually go through the disaster recovery plan before there actually is an emergency, test the plan, and verify recovery on regular basis. Once employees are comfortable with the disaster recovery plan, businesses are prepared for an emergency and can continue business with minimal impact.