No matter how tight your security might be, disasters will always have the potential to occur. These disasters could include anything from natural disasters to economic collapse. While a disaster might not be right around the corner, it pays to be prepared. After all, major disasters seldom come with a lot of early warning. With that approach in mind, let’s look at a few essential elements for developing a disaster recovery plan.
In the event of some major disaster, it is possible that the normal lines of communication will be down. As such, it is a good idea to plan ways in which you and your organization can maintain good communication under such circumstances. If nothing else, good communication ensures people that they are not alone and that they still have a job.
The first thing to do is to collect emergency contact information from all relevant persons. These might include things like encrypted emails, snail mail addresses, or information relating to alternate communication devices (satellite radios and the like, for instance). From a business perspective, good communication also ensures that all employees know where to go and what to do.
2. Inventory Management
Unfortunately, there will always be those who attempt to take advantage of a crisis. Such people are often known as “looters,” and they come in many forms. If you and your organization have a lot to guard, it would be a good idea to include a comprehensive inventory plan in your disaster response plan. That will give you a full idea of what you have to guard.
Of course, this task will include much more than the making of a simple list. You will need to include serial numbers and other tracking information. You will also want to maintain good chain-of-custody records so that things don’t get lost in the shuffle when moved. Make sure that all of these records are protected with strong passwords and/or good physical security.
3. Physical Security
Speaking of physical security, it will be more important than ever. During peaceful times, physical security is less important. Most thieves will try to go the digital route because it represents less risk to themselves. The chances of someone going “full ninja” and sneaking into your premises are normally quite low, but a disaster could easily change all that.
When you have large numbers of desperate people, they will be willing to take chances that they would never take otherwise. That might include anything from a sneaky nighttime raid to a full-on armed assault. Either way, you need to be prepared and practice good physical security. Security cameras, armed guards, strong locks, and good access control will be very handy in this department.
4. Always Keep Good Backups
When talking about disasters, we should not neglect to discuss the most common of them all: A data disaster. Even during the best of times, computer data can be notoriously unstable. Rather than wait for a problem to occur, you should start keeping good backups now. Windows can be configured to do this automatically, but you should take to the time to do more than that.
An entire computer system can be condensed into a “system image” file. This is similar to the disc image files that you may have seen in the past. It is also similar to a .zip compressed file. To save the entire system as-is would take far too much storage space, so this condensed method is very necessary. Using these system image files, you can store a lot of backups on relatively little storage media.
As for storage media, we would advise you to avoid the use of optical discs. They may be cheap, but they don’t have the durability that you need for crucial information. External hard drives are probably the best option, and it is more cost-effective to get drives that are at least 2 TB in size.
5. Plan To Be Without The Internet
The world has become very dependent on the internet. Thankfully, networks are a lot more reliable than ever before, but that could change at any time. At any given moment, we are only one disaster away from losing all that connectedness. Rather than dread this possibility, it is better to embrace it and prepare accordingly.
Just stop and ask yourself: “What happens if the internet goes down?” Think about all the things that you won’t be able to do and list them. Then, you should be able to find alternate methods for all of these things. For instance, you might create a telephone-based communication plan as your second line of operation. If those lines go down too, you will need a self-contained communication system with a separate generator.
If your business truly needs the internet (many do), you can go with another option. If you have the right people to do the job, you can get some backup servers installed. These would be used to maintain connectivity between members of your company as a last-ditch option. Even if the internet is down, you can at least communicate on a limited basis. As long as you have electricity, it should work fine. Your computer IT services staff should be able to set this up easily. If you are asking yourself, “where are the best managed IT services near me?” then just look at your best local options.
The scary thing about a disaster is this: You never know when it will happen or how bad it will be. All you can do is take your best guess and hope for the best. Still, we hope that this article has given you some good concepts to consider. We would advise you to put a lot of effort into disaster preparedness even though it might seem like a waste. In the event that something awful actually does happen, these preparations will be worth their weight in gold. If you have enjoyed this article, please feel free to fill out the contact form below.