Delta Airlines was soundly criticized in August for the fact that a . For data to be useful, it must be accessible to those who need to use it. The more accessible it is, the more vulnerable it is.
Planning for the Worst
No matter what the type of disaster, having a plan to avert it when possible, continue operating as a business through the disaster, and recover as quickly as possible is essential. “It’s about simply getting rid of your situation and getting you back to normal operating position,” says Di Gangi. “that’s disaster recovery. Things to consider include the following:
Can your employees work remotely, or do you have a possible alternate place to do business in case disaster strikes your physical location? This may be less important to a business in the inland Northwest than one in Miami or New Orleans, where hurricanes are annual events, but it’s wise to have a worst case scenario plan in case of natural or human-caused damage to your offices.
Have an evacuation plan in case something happens during business hours, complete with a meeting place and roll call.
Have a plan in place to protect expensive hardware in the event of a natural disaster, but also have back up hardware in case of catastrophic failure due to some other circumstances. Invest in battery backups and have a shutdown plan in case of longer term power losses.
Software and Data
Keep copies of all software and data in cloud backups or off site physical backups in case of data loss or corruption, and have a restoration plan.
How will you contact personnel to let them know about a disaster? What role does each person or position play in different types of disasters? All of these should be established before a disaster happens.
Types of Tests
Testing your disaster preparedness should happen at least once a year. There are several types of tests you should perform:
This test evaluates the overall system, hardware, software, personnel and how they would all work together were an actual situation to occur.
An evaluation of hardware and software, in which each part of your preparedness system is tested individually to determine if it is working the way it should.
Make sure that the system itself meets requirements and is working properly by examining each process.
Besides conducting drills that resemble real workday situations as much as possible, conducting workshops and tabletop exercises can also inform your planning.
Legally, any business must inspect and test alarms, warnings, fire detection, communication, emergency power supplies, employee notification, life safety, pollution containment, fire suppression, and more.
But beyond legal requirements, you should establish a testing schedule for other systems as well.
Both the Delta and the Southwest Airlines failures were extremely costly, and both were likely preventable if adequate testing has been performed on a regular basis. Beyond the legal requirements, though, studies show that 90% of businesses don’t survive the first three years after a disaster.
Other businesses can learn from these disasters. Not only having a plan for disaster recovery but, testing it regularly is a key to any company’s success and its survival when the unexpected happens.
Image: Author’s Own