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Although it is extremely rare for Michigan to suffer damage from a hurricane, there are many lessons that can be learned about the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery plans. David Sarbacha of Deloitte Touche LLP identified 10 lessons that Michigan companies could use to better prepare for a disaster.
1. Take care of employees – It is impossible for employees to think about work if basic necessities are not being met. Companies should consider providing employees water, food, shelter and finding contractors who can repair or rebuild their homes. After all, the sooner employees can get back on their feet, the sooner it will be business as usual.
2. Detailed disaster recovery and business continuity plans are a must – Disaster recovery plans “should establish clear chains of decision-making and empower employees to take action.” Employees shouldn’t have to wait for direction from a decision maker, whose communications may be unavailable.
3. Plan for different impact levels – Companies mistakenly assume that a disaster event will only affect them for 24 to 48 hours. Companies need different disaster recovery strategies for events of different durations.
4. Don’t rely on employees working from home – Many business continuity plans direct employees to telecommute if they can not get into the office. This quickly falls apart if employees have no power and can’t access the company network from home. Organizations should consider transporting employees to offices that have not been affected by the disaster or set up alternative work sites.
5. Develop alternate forms of communication – Companies need to use other communication mechanisms including satellite phones. Sufficient uninterruptable power supply and generator are necessary to keep the satellite phones charged.
6. Two data center recovery sites are ideal – Companies need to ideally have two fallback data centers, one nearby and one far away. Online Tech data centers are strategically 53 miles apart, directly connected with Gigabit fiber, and located on two separate power grids. This allows customers the confidence of high availability even in the case of a disaster.
7. The Cloud Does Not Solve Everything – Sarabacha says, “too many organization don’t fully understand what their cloud providers offer in terms of disaster recovery”. Companies need to know for sure that they can get their data and applications as well as when they can have access.
Online Tech’s disaster recovery cloud solution (DR NOW!) replicates the entire hosted cloud including servers, software, network and security to an offsite disaster recovery cloud without any programming or special configuration. DR Now! is warranted with a 4 hour recovery time objective (RTO) specifying the worst case availability in case of a disaster. DR Now! also warrants a 24 hour recovery point objective (RPO) specifying the worst case amount of data that would be lost in the event of a disaster.
8. Understand your vendors’ disaster recovery plans – Companies need to have insight into vendor and service providers’ business continuity plans. You need to understand their response plan given your reliance on them.
9. Test your disaster recovery plan – Organizations needs to extensively test their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Sarabacha says, “they might test one data center, but not another. They might test data recovery, but not their ability to actively restore dependent applications or to synchronize disparate systems.”
10. Don’t make the same mistakes again – In the aftermath, companies need to make strategic and tactical modification to their operations and assets. Companies that lack core competencies in crisis and disaster risk management may consider outsourcing to third parties.
Online Tech delivers a comprehensive range of IT disaster recovery solutions including offsite backup, cloud-based disaster recovery and SAN-to-SAN replication that will meet your budget and recovery time objectives.
Investing in risk management means investing in business sustainability – designing a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan is about analyzing the impact of a business interruption on revenue.
Interested in more information on disaster recovery? Download our Disaster Recovery white paper now for an in-depth look at challenges, benefits, and detriments of different solutions from the perspective of experienced IT and data security professionals.