Disaster Preparedness Checklist to Keep Your Data Safe

You never know when disaster will strike, but you need to be ready for it.  Remember Hurricane Katrina? Flooding in West Virginia? The wildfires in Washington?  

Even relatively simple storms can destroy your business and the data you have stored there.

No matter the season and regardless of where your business is located geographically, a natural disaster has the potential to really bring your business to a halt.

How ready are you to deal with a natural disaster?

Without a disaster preparedness plan, your business will experience problems such as:

  • Significant downtime.
  • Data loss.
  • Business interruption.
  • Reputation damage.
  • Revenue loss.
  • Productivity loss.
  • Dissatisfied customers.

Let’s say a tornado sweeps through town and destroys the building in which your business resides. Do you have a data backup and business continuity plan to ensure you can get back up and running quickly?

If you don’t, how long could your business stay afloat without the ability to access key data?

By some estimates, it can cost nearly $8,000 for every minute that your business is down.

If you’re not confident in your disaster recovery plan, it’s time to beef it up. Here are some tips for getting your business’ plan back on track.

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Know what’s important

In order to create an effective plan, you’ll need to first identify the most important data. Perhaps you and your team can develop levels of data, such as information that is critical, information that is good to preserve, and information that, if lost, wouldn’t interrupt business.

Focus on protecting the most important assets first, such as the applications and systems that are critical for your organization to operate or the data your customers absolutely need access to.

Identify your risk

Talk with your team to determine when your business is at most risk for downtime, and what it would cost you if you lost access to the data for an hour, a day, or even a week. Determine if your building is located in a flood, earthquake, or tornado zone, and take the appropriate measures to protect your physical assets, as well as your data.

Assess the existing plan

If you have a plan in place, great! You’re one step closer to reducing your risk. But don’t assume that a plan you developed three years ago is still effective. Review the plan carefully.

Make sure it includes steps like choosing to centrally manage the disaster recovery solution and implementing an automatic backup system, ensuring that your data is safe and recoverable should a disaster occur.

Evaluate your provider

Even more kudos if you already have a disaster preparedness solution in place. Now, go one step further and evaluate if the solution and provider are meeting all your needs. Are they implementing the best and simplest solution to eliminate the possibility of downtime and to protect your data? Does the vendor have its own disaster preparedness plan?

Create and test

Once you create or tweak your plan, make sure to write it down and post it so that employees know the proper procedures to follow. But don’t sit back on your laurels. Test the plan a couple of times every year to ensure that it will work and that key people in your organization are familiar with the procedures.

Update

As the months and years go on, your organization’s needs will likely change. Make it a priority to review the plan regularly, ensure that it’s relevant to your business’ needs and make adjustments to the plan as the company evolves.

Your disaster preparedness plan can make or break your business. Make sure you’re adequately prepared for a natural disaster so you can minimize downtime and financial losses.

How often does your business update its disaster preparedness plan?

 

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