When you hear the words “disaster recovery,” you probably think big.
Big natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy or the recent fires in California. Or big man-made disasters, like the WannaCry ransomware attack. Or any number of doomsday events, from solar flares to the zombie apocalypse.
What’s almost certain is you don’t think about little things, which is unfortunate. Anything that causes downtime interferes with business. It all affects your bottom line.
When small disasters strike, the only thing standing between you and the very real potential of profit loss is a disaster recovery plan.
What causes downtime?
We don’t have to tell you how devastating a blizzard or hurricane can be. You already know that all too well. What you may not know is how often other factors impact your IT network uptime.
For example, the leading cause of network down is power loss, accounting for 25% of all IT outages. Cybercrime comes in second, at 22%—sadly, no surprise there. But in third place? Human error, neck and neck with cybercrime at 22%.
In fact, cybercrime and weather (like hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and earthquakes) only account for 32% of all network failures. That’s less than a third. The remaining 68% of outages are caused by the “little things” like hardware failure, human error, power loss and exposure to heat or water.
Little things hurt.
The majority of network failures aren’t spectacular. Instead, they’re caused by little things. But little things can do big damage.
In mythology, gremlins were small creatures that snuck into people’s homes in the middle of the night to meddle with mechanical things. Said another way, they broke stuff. Not big stuff. Little stuff, like household appliances. In the morning, your walls would still be standing, but your toaster wouldn’t work.
That, in and of itself, isn’t earth-shattering—until the cumulative effect of all the appliances you rely on day in, day out starts to interfere with your ability to do the things that matter. You can’t work, or sleep well, or enjoy time with family. That’s when a gremlin’s minor stunts start to cause major breakdowns in your life.
Just like the small events that lead to network downtime.
Disaster recovery tips.
Just one hour of downtime can cost a small business as much as $8,600. As the amount of downtime goes up, so does the cost. It’s in your best interest to leverage a disaster recovery plan to minimize downtime.
Here’s how you do that.
1. Have a plan for staying productive.
If your network goes down, it doesn’t have to bring work to a grinding halt. The secret to remaining productive is knowing how you’ll shift gears when (not if) you need to go into disaster recovery mode.
Identify critical tasks you can continue to work on that don’t require network connectivity. If there are elements of your business that will be hit hard by an outage, prepare for how you’ll adjust to minimize the negative impact.
Downtime might still cut into your profitability. The goal is to limit how much it does.
2. Have a plan for working remotely.
One powerful way to maintain productivity, especially if your technology is critical to business operations, is to work remotely. Take the time to determine who will need remote access, and what technology tools those folks will need to be able to access.
The more your business relies on cloud solutions for everyday operations, the easier it is to work from another location on the fly.
3. Have a plan for maintaining communication.
If the power and phone lines go out, even for just a few hours, how will you communicate with your customers and employees? Make sure you have contact numbers for everyone and put together some kind of organized strategy for getting information out to the whole company in the event of an outage.
Customer-facing communication can be a bit more challenging. If there are key clients or vendors you would need to reach out to, record their numbers somewhere non-digital, as well.
4. Have a plan for getting back online.
And here is where disaster recovery really pays off. If you have a plan for staying the course and keeping your business going even during a full-blown, act-of-God kind of emergency, that same plan can get you back online after something small.
If you’re not sure how to develop a disaster recovery plan, you have two options. First, feel free to check out our free guide. It’ll walk you through the core components. Or you might decide it’s time to talk to an IT consulting expert.
We won’t argue with you there. A lot is riding on your disaster recovery plan. Either way—DIY or working with a partner—put a plan together.