Why Do I Need a Disaster Recovery Plan?

Companies of every size depend on information technology to support their critical business systems. These critical systems could be servers that house important company data and applications such as email, CRM, ERP or accounting software. These servers could also support on-premises phone systems, or provide connectivity to the internet. The data that moves across these systems is crucial for business operations, including contracts and purchase agreements, financial and banking information as well as time-critical corporate-wide communications. Your company, like countless others depends on having a stable, secure, and accessible IT infrastructure to keep important business functions operating at all times.

Be Prepared for Your Worst-Case Scenario

What happens when all of your IT infrastructure stops working? How impactful would it be if the “bulletproof” back-up and recovery solution you invested in has a catastrophic failure? As hard as that is to imagine, a large regional natural disaster like a hurricane or winter storm can either disable your operations, or perhaps even destroy everything your business owns. A catastrophic wildfire like the ones burning on the US West Coast can demolish your business in minutes. Flash floods as their name implies can happen in a flash, and can quite literally knock buildings off of their foundations. During a hurricane, more people are killed, and more property damage occurs from flooding and storm surge than occurs from high winds.

Natural Disasters are Becoming More Common and Severe

Every company should have a detailed, actionable Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in the event of a catastrophe. About three-quarters of all businesses would cease to operate within three weeks if they had a total loss of their paper documents because of a natural disaster. Recent hurricanes like Harvey and Ida caused widespread wind and flood damage across a large geographic area. The Camp Fire, which was the wildfire that completely obliterated the town of Paradise, CA, caused over $16 billion in damage and killed 85 people. As our weather patterns become more severe, the need to have a tight, functional Disaster Recovery Plan becomes even more clear. As a business owner, you may think to yourself that your business is not in a disaster-prone location, but that would be a mistake. The flooding that struck the Northeastern US from Ida killed dozens of people and destroyed hundreds of businesses. Some number of those businesses experienced catastrophic flooding that had never occurred in that location before. No matter where you are, a natural or man-made disaster can occur that may cripple or destroy your physical infrastructure. So plan ahead, and keep your business running during and after a disaster.

Man-Made Disasters are More Common, Too!

Speaking of man-made disasters, hacking and ransomware disasters are far more common today than their natural counterparts. A comprehensive DRP should include plans and contingencies to deal with an attack on your electronic infrastructure. Is there a replicated set of electronic documents and hardware that your organization can fall back on in the event that hackers completely disable your computer network and encrypt all of your critical business documents? What about ransom demands? Will you pay them? If you decide to pay the ransom, do you have sufficient cryptocurrency to pay the hackers? Is it the right kind of cryptocurrency? Most cyber-terrorists only accept Bitcoin. Do you have a plan and the appropriate software solution to quickly and completely back-up and restore your data in the event of a ransomware attack or perhaps even a critical hardware failure of a local server? Can you afford to pay a ransom? Can you afford to have your business completely locked down for days or perhaps even months?

Get Away From Paper Documents

One other important preparation that you can make is to digitize all of your paper documents into a cloud-based Document Management System. We had a customer several years ago who had scanned all of their paper HR documents into a DMS. By law, they had to keep their paper copies for 7 years, so they put them in banker’s boxes, stacked them on pallets, wrapped them in clear plastic and put them on a rack in their warehouse. An F4 tornado ripped the roof off of the warehouse, and damaged their sprinkler system. If their paper records had not been digitized and carefully wrapped in plastic, they would have lost all of their HR records!

Another important feature of an Intelligent Information Management System is the ability to reboot and spin up your IT operations from the cloud. This would protect your critical documents and infrastructure in case of a hacking incident, a natural disaster, or a catastrophic system failure like a server disk drive going bad. This capability allows your organization to operate from any location that has power and a reliable internet connection.

Plus, there are always the non-emergency benefits of having a Content Management System. A well-designed CMS allows users to search on indexed terms, document content, or other parameters such as document creation date. Here are some interesting facts about paper documents:

  • Each file cabinet holds over 10,000 paper documents and takes up nine square feet of floor space.
  • The average employee spends nearly 400 hours per year locating paper documents.
  • It takes about 25 hours to recreate one lost paper document.

Think about the time and expense required to recreate just one file cabinet of lost or damaged paper documents!

Safeguard Your Digital Documents

While there is less risk in losing digital documents, the possibility does exist. You can secure your digital files and other digital assets in a CMS just as easily, if not more easily, than you can with paper documents.

If your organization doesn’t have a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan, or if your existing plan needs to be refreshed, Virginia Business Systems can help you develop a plan to protect your critical business data and keep your business running during and after a disaster. Contact us today!

October 25th 2021