With so many new technologies at the disposal of IT departments to help during an emergency, IT departments need to be proactive while planning for natural disasters, outages, cyber –crime and a dozens of potential events that could jeopardize network accessibility.
In a current white paper from Century Link, Century Link provides some insights as to how if departments put the right people and process in place, the effects of a crisis can be mitigated. Interestingly, there was a distinction made within the report of a “disaster recovery” plan and a “business continuity” question. By having both plans in place when a crisis occurs, agencies can quickly get IT systems up and running to help with the recovery, and have the right people and systems in place to immediately start the recovery process.
Century Link lists four best practices:
Know your priorities.
If you don’t focus on what is most critical and prioritize, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.
Remember your suppliers.
The popular trend toward outsourcing provides most businesses with the option of offsetting workloads so you can still meet customer needs while you’re recovering. Make sure you know who are the vendors and partners that support your business. Consider your supply chain for daily business operations, and have a backup-plan. Also, validate that your suppliers can do what they say they’re going to do in case of disaster.
Keep an eye on your changing environment and stay informed about what types of applications you need to continue to plan. Make sure new employees familiarize themselves with the plan as they come on-board. Being proactive is also essential. If there is a large-scale disaster, it can be difficult to get staff back in the area to take care of the issues that occur, particularly if you’re working for an infrastructure provider or bank, where the pain is severe and immediate. Work with state agencies now to determine necessary credentials and processes to get people back into damaged areas quickly.
During a disaster, buildings are evacuated and people may scatter. It can be difficult to locate the people responsible for executing your DR plan. Have in place a simple, effective way to communicate with all parties –— one that will not be affected by the outage. Make sure department heads maintain up-to-date contact lists and have a centralized number that employees can call for information. Use new forms of communication technology, such as text messaging, to disseminate critical information, if needed.
The report states, “No matter how solid your infrastructure, local accidents and natural disasters can happen, causing big problems in a short amount of time. Making sure your business keeps running despite the unexpected requires solid Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) strategies that go beyond redundant components or storage backup.”
There are also two interesting case studies in the report, and I’d encourage you to take a look.
What are some of your best practices for disaster recovery?
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