The Ugly Truth About Disaster Recovery

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The ugly truth about disaster recovery - if you wait until disaster strikes – it is often too late.  The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 40% of businesses never reopen following a disaster.  Of the remaining companies, at least 25% will close within 2 years.

Are you prepared for the next natural disaster? The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy reminded businesses of all sizes that Disaster Recovery Planning is critical to ensure your business stays up and running despite catastrophes.

Disaster Recovery is defined as the process, policies and procedures that are related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure (including your ERP/accounting software - click here for more information) which are vital to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster.  Additionally, disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity.  Business continuity involves planning for keeping all aspects of a business functioning in the midst of disruptive events while disaster recovery focuses on the technology systems or IT applications that support business functions.  Don’t let a hurricane, flood or email hacker take your business’ reputation, finances or market capitalization.

Disaster Recovery Planning is comprised of three main components:

  1. Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
  2. Documenting Needs
  3. Determining Responses & Staffing Requirements

Disaster Recovery starts with a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). This exercise determines the impact of losing the support of any resource to an organization and the escalation of that loss over time. Then, it identifies the minimum resources needed to recover, the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and prioritizes the recovery of processes and supporting systems.  During this analysis it’s important to determine the critical needs first:

  • Finance
  • Billing
  • Collections
  • Operations
  • Communications
  • Sales
  • Other Departments/Needs

For many companies, analyzing business processes is a similar exercise done when researching accounting software packages.  For many, the most significant software application to get up and running is their ERP software package (such as Microsoft Dynamics GP - learn more here).

Next comes the documentation which is the single most important part.  Listing all critical systems and prioritizing their importance to the organization and realistic recovery times. Then, determine resources needed to ensure the viability of the systems.  Finally, review the documentation and determine the appropriate responses and evaluate costs.  You’ll need to establish a starting point, time to get a recovery strategy, staff support and vendor relations.  This will give you a disaster recovery plan.  Once the plan is in place, you’ll need to review staffing, test the plan and assess it annually.

For more information about disaster recovery planning:

By: SBS Group - New Jersey Business Technology Provider & Microsoft Master VAR

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