4 of the most common disaster recovery mistakes and how to avoid them

4 of the most common disaster recovery mistakes and how to avoid them

What does IT disaster recovery mean to you? For many business leaders, it doesn't mean much more than having backups, while others frequently confuse it with business continuity, which is a much broader topic. All too often, this confusion ends up leading to costly mistakes. Disaster recovery isn’t just about backup — it’s the process of getting all essential IT infrastructure up and running again after a crisis.

For example, would your business be able to continue operations if your team were ordered to evacuate in response to a nearby fire? That is not uncommon, and just happened to companies in east Hartford. You need to know how long it will take to get back to normal operations following any type of disaster, fire or otherwise.

Here are some of the common mistakes and misconceptions surrounding disaster recovery and how to address them:

#1. Not getting everyone involved

In many businesses, especially those with more than 30 to 35 employees, disaster recovery is considered something only IT departments need to worry about. In this sort of environment, no one other than the dedicated few in IT even knows what to do after a disaster. They aren’t familiar with their roles and responsibilities and, oftentimes, they haven’t been given any. Given that IT now plays a vital role in most employees’ everyday routines, this is a big mistake.

Everyone on your team from senior management to administrative staff should be aware of the risks facing your business and the responsibilities that come with keeping everything running smoothly. Disaster recovery should always be a group effort.

#2. Not testing and updating your plan

The corporate world is evolving and transforming alongside technology and the cyberthreat landscape that comes with it. All too often, business leaders treat their disaster recovery plans like documents that can be written and then filed away for the long term. However, if your plan isn’t current and thoroughly tested, it will be worthless.

The most reliable disaster recovery plans constantly adapt to your technology environment and your operational needs and processes. Yours should be tested often and refined accordingly so it’s always relevant.

#3. Not prioritizing your systems

As corporate IT systems become more complex, it’s impractical, and even undesirable, to try to get everything back up and running at once. Instead, your team needs to focus on restoring mission-critical systems before occupying themselves with ancillaries. That’s what makes prioritization one of the most important elements of any disaster-recovery plan.

There are two very important metrics to track: how much data you can afford to lose and how long it should take to get a system back online. These are defined by recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO), respectively. You’ll likely have different RPOs and RTOs for each IT system, depending on their importance.

#4. Not planning for the right risks

You can’t expect to handle a crisis successfully if you don’t understand the risks your IT solutions face. For example, you might have a great system for making backups of mission-critical data, but lack an efficient system for recovering them swiftly. Disaster recovery planning is a multiple-stage process that typically starts with a thorough analysis of the risks.

A business impact analysis (BIA) is one of the most important first steps, since it identifies the risks and determines the impact of a disruptive event. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to prioritize more effectively and minimize the adverse consequences of a disaster.

Are you afraid of suffering a technology meltdown in your organization? Call Charles IT today to learn more about our emergency support and our proactive care services.

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