Businesses are increasingly connected. From voice-over interned protocol solutions to cloud-based “as-a-service” models of software delivery, technology is no longer an optional feature for many.

Instead of bells and whistles that dazzle customers, technology has become a component of everyday operations for many businesses. But, what happens if an organization loses its connection? What steps must it take to mitigate losses during a disaster?

Floods, fires, hurricanes, cyberattacks and human errors are only a few of the situations that can disrupt business operations. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a comprehensive, step-by-step road map for facing events that threaten an company’s technology and pose a risk to operations. Today’s reliance on technology means it must be proactive and develop a response-and-recovery plan for those situations.

 

Planning begins with a team

Disaster recovery is unique to each organization. An effective plan looks at the entire operation holistically, requiring participation from the right number of voices. The more complex the organization, the more people who should be involved in the process. Create a multi-disciplinary team to develop the plan, and it will incorporate a broader response. Assign roles and responsibilities in case of a disaster scenario.

Initiating the risk and business impact analysis process

Once a team that knows all of the organization’s moving parts is in place, it’s time to dig deeper. An effective DRP must take risks into account, assess tolerance and conduct impact analyses for different scenarios. Risk analysis is the process of identifying vulnerabilities and threats. Business impact analysis looks at the potential effect of a disaster.

For example, that analysis might highlight that a 24-hour communications outage will mean that customer support, sales and other calls will be affected. A department that relies on phone use will probably lose all of its productivity during the downtime. That’s a starting point for knowing the risk.

Risk analysis also seeks to determine the potential cost of a disaster, but focuses on assessing the likelihood of a technology outage or other potential problem resulting from one.

 

Disaster recovery is not just about technology

Safety is a primary consideration in disaster recovery. If the worst happens, an organization must ensure that employees and customers are safe. Evacuation strategies can involve some of the most challenging work in a disaster plan, but creating safe routes for people during life-threatening events is crucial.

Planning should seek to keep others safe, but safety plans also can have a side effect of keeping a business running when disaster strikes. Other working ???locations can help employees and customers communicate and keep services going. From reporting to work at a different location to offloading or rerouting data to sites in a safer zone, there are many ways for plans to incorporate “plan B” operations.

Develop a set of best practices

Part of business impact and risk analysis is to identify crucial processes and strategies for maintaining or restoring those functions. That initial short-term response requires a deep understanding of all aspects of a business’s operations.

Recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) are two essential disaster- or data-recovery planning tools. They help an organization determine its tolerance to being disconnected from critical technologies. They also help develop initial responses, because the analysis required to decide on RPO and RTO also uncovers the costs of a disaster.

Plan to communicate

Create a communication plan in case of a disaster. Identify the people to contact, processes that need access to communications and explore alternative communication systems such as satellite communication. If different cogs in a business’s engine cannot interact, operations can grind to a halt. Worse, the lack of communication can increase the disaster’s damage.

A DRP should incorporate alternative methods to ensure a connection. That can include redundancy practices and satellite data connections. With new technologies increasing the performance of today’s satellite internet connections, the backup tool can often deliver a seamless response.

If an organization is located in a disaster-prone area, the satellite internet consideration should also be baked into network planning. When designing a network, for example, testing crucial application performance by satellite connection may be appropriate.

Back up all of it

Since data recovery is a big part of disaster recovery and affects how RPO and RTO are calculated, explore data backup and off-site storage options. Assess risk tolerance regarding data loss and create a data-backup plan. A successful plan requires a high level of system awareness in the organization, a key component of security and compliance.

Part of the analysis for disaster recovery includes crucial times in business workflow when information may be most vital, but it varies by business type. A small retailer may just need to have a backup that reaches to the previous day’s closing time. A larger business may need a backup to be as recent as an hour or even less. More-frequent backups aren’t always the best option, though, because of the cost and drag on system resources they can cause.

Know if the plan works

No plan is complete without a framework for testing its contents. Test the plan and provide training and simulation exercises so the plan can be updated and improved. Business functions change often, and so should a disaster-recovery plan. Testing should be frequent, but not so often that it interrupts productive work.

New products, business lines or major customers can also trigger testing. No matter how frequent tests and training are conducted, make sure they are more than just an afterthought. Disaster-recovery planning is not a single task completed solely to check a box on a list; it’s an ongoing process.

DRPs grow out of information. Learn more about the business and the importance of safety and communication, and how they interplay will become obvious. Systems that ensure as little interruption to communication as possible can keep a business productive, and employees and customers safe.

Businesses can ensure uninterrupted communication and connectivity with modern satellite internet solutions. X2nSat provides enterprise-class connectivity that withstands disasters. Its satellite internet services power remote locations for data-heavy industries, and keep businesses connected, productive and safe when disaster strikes. Contact X2nSat today for more information about how it can provide continuity and resilience to a business.

About the Author

Cara is the marketing coordinator at X2nSat. She's a social media maverick, a content genius, and an author in her spare time. Writing and marketing are her true passions.