Data is everything to a small business in this day and age – which means if you lose access or control of your data, you lose everything.

As dramatic as this claim might sound, the data backs it up. According to several sources, 93% of companies, no matter how big they are, are out of business within one year if they suffer a major data disaster without having first formulated a strategy for combating it. And since 68% of businesses don’t have any sort of plan for that worst-case scenario, it means that significant data loss would be a death knell for most of today’s businesses.

Fortunately, your business does not have to become one of these statistics. By taking the following steps, you can ensure that you have a rock-solid recovery plan in place should disaster strike.

Step 1: Understand The Difference Between A Disaster Recovery Plan And A Business Continuity Plan

Simply put, business continuity plans are proactive, while disaster recovery plans are reactive.

More specifically, a business continuity plan is a strategy by which a business ensures that, no matter what disaster befalls, it can continue to operate and serve its client base. A disaster recovery plan, on the flip side, is a strategy by which businesses can back up and recover critical data should it get lost or held for ransom.

So, now that we have a clear, concise understanding of what constitutes a disaster recovery plan, we can dive into the steps necessary to create one.

Step 2: Gather Information And Support

In order to get the ball rolling on your disaster recovery plan, start with executive buy-in. This means that everyone—from the CEO to entry-level employees—needs to be included in understanding and executing the plan should your company suffer a data disaster. When everyone is aware of the possibility of a data disaster, as well as the critical ramifications for the larger company, it enables cross-functional collaboration so that breaches can be prevented across all layers of your business.

You need to account for all elements in your tech systems when you’re putting together your disaster recovery plan, including your systems, applications, and data. Be sure to also address any vulnerabilities involving the physical security of your servers, as well as physical access to your systems.

In the end, you’ll need to determine which processes are absolutely necessary to keep your business up and running during a worst-case scenario, and what is required to keep these components operational when your capabilities are severely limited.

Step 3: Create Your Strategy

When everyone is on board with the disaster recovery plan and understands their unique role in its execution, it’s time to actually create and document the strategy. To do so, you’ll need to have a good grip on your budget, resources, tools, and partners.

If you’re a small business, you need to consider your budget and timeline for the recovery process. This will also help you determine the best strategy for managing your clients’ expectations as they wait for your business to return to full operating capacity.

Step 4: Test The Plan

Even if you complete the first three steps listed here, you won’t know if you’re actually prepared until you test out your disaster recovery plan. Running through all the steps with your employees helps prepare them to take decisive action in the event of a real emergency, and it will also help you detect any areas of your plan that need improvement. Should an actual data disaster befall your business, your systems and employees will be equipped to mitigate the damage.

Not sure if your IT security team has a disaster recovery plan in place for your business? Be sure to reach out to them and discuss your concerns. If you aren’t sure where to start, give us a call, and our team of experts would be happy to help.

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