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In the digital age, itís easy to get lost. As soon as you open your laptop, youíre sucked into a swirling vortex of time-sensitive emails, data-filled spreadsheets, and online banking transactions. With so much of our focus aimed at making sure cyber-attackers donít invade our virtual lives, itís easy to forget that in the physical world, real-life disasters are just as real a threat to our computing capabilities. Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes; These arenít the first things you think of when youíre worrying about how to protect your data but Ė well, thatís the point. If you feel like youíve left the back door open by being underprepared for real-world dangers, here are some steps you should take to be fully prepped no matter which way the wind blows.

Formulate A Disaster Recovery Plan

In every disaster film, thereís an unassuming character who appears suddenly at a critical moment and yells to the group, ďFollow me!Ē Itís time for you to step into that role. No business owner will be truly ready for real-world threats unless they think ahead and create what is known as a disaster recovery plan. A good DR plan creates a robust set of protocols to follow that will keep your critical operations up and running while you address the impact of the disaster at hand. It gives your employees the blueprint for what to do when faced with a seemingly impossible situation and developing one is paramount to being fully prepared.

Evaluate Risks and Impact

The first piece to the puzzle is assessing every aspect of your business that might be at risk and how youíll manage to adjust, if and when they are affected. Performing a risk assessment and/or business impact analysis can help you identify the technology, personnel, and physical facilities that are crucial to your business’s day-to-day operations. Make sure to take all factors into account including elements like surrounding geography, local infrastructure, available power sources, and possible effects on communication networks when measuring the potential impact of a disastrous turn of events.

Create Objectives

Now that youíve figured out what critical business activities you need to protect or replace, youíll want to define a Recovery Time Objective for every function. Since time is of the essence in any emergency, RTOís are helpful to identify the amount of time an application or operation can be offline without drastically impacting your business. With RTOís in place, you can also define Recovery Point Objectives, a target time within which each function should be fully recovered. When assessing these two timeframes, itís helpful to remember what youíve promised your customers, users, and/or stakeholders and develop what would be acceptable response times from their perspective.

Finalize Your Plan

Using the above, you should be able to start the process of taking action and finding workable solutions that can ensure your business stays up and running when it all hits the fan. However, to make sure everyone is on the right page, youíll want to put this plan down on paper, summarize the key steps, and distribute it to every employee in your operation. Make sure to include key personnel contact info, define the roles of each team member clearly and plainly state everyoneís responsibilities. Donít skimp on the details because the more specific and well thought out your plan is, the more likely it is to succeed.

If all this seems daunting, itís because it should be. Dealing with disaster recovery is never an easy process no matter how well you plan. If you need help finding realistic solutions, contact Longleaf. Our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) Services Team can expertly assess risks, develop clear-cut strategies and help you implement full disaster recovery plans so even though your data is in the cloud, you stay grounded in reality.

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