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3 min read

Crash Support: What's Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Believe it or not, crash support, or “disaster recovery” in IT speak, isn’t just about your system being taken out by a fire, flood, or even a monkey.

“Data disasters” such as viruses, malware, and human error can be as impactful as natural disasters. You should be prepared for all kinds of disastrous scenarios. We’ve all accidentally hit the delete button when we didn’t mean to, right? Many times, it’s more than one thing that brings your system down.

Much like you practice what to do in case of a fire, you should do the same in case something happens to your system.

If something comes up – and it will – you and your employees will know what to do in the state of disaster. The goal is to recover quickly and without losing much, if any, business in the process. Sounds like a win-win, right? Let’s get started!

5 Steps to Develop Your Crash Support Strategy

Now comes the fun part, INVENTORY. Okay, I may have said that with some sarcasm, but we can’t plan without knowing what needs to be protected.

  1. Hardware, application, and critical services inventory – Create a list of all your critical hardware and applications. Think through all the pieces, down to the phones and individual computers. Also include critical services, like power and Internet. Order them by priority, and include technical support contract information.
  2. Determine your threshold for downtime and data loss – Pinpoint the acceptable time each application or service can be down, as well as the tolerance for data loss. Recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) should be set based on what's technically and financially possible for your company. Which hardware or services need immediate attention, which can wait?
  3. Who’s in charge? – Who makes the decisions? Who declares that there is, in fact, a disaster? Who is responsible for reaching the third-party vendors? Is your IT support team or C-level responsible for communications? Your protocol must include who and how to contact the appropriate parties.
  4. Internal and external communication plans – If the phones or email go down, how will your customers contact you? How will you contact your employees? What’s the plan if the Internet goes down? What is the process for keeping employees, customers, and vendors in the loop?
  5. In case of emergency/alternate workspace – Your disaster recovery plan isn’t just for your technology. Make sure there is a section that identifies what employees should do if your office building is impacted by a disaster. Should employees work from home? Is there an alternate office space you can use? Etc.

Develop Step-By-Step Processes

Practice makes permanent. I know the saying is “practice makes perfect,” but here’s the thing, there is no such thing as “perfect” in a disaster. Each one will be different. Your ability to adapt in any situation will be dependent on having a good process in place.

Do YOU know what to do? This is the only way you can be prepared. Pick a training day and make sure everyone understands the plan. Then, without your employees knowing, select a drill time. Let them sink or swim. No matter the outcome, you’ll learn what your team needs to execute if this was a real crash.

This is a team effort. No man left behind! That includes your IT professional. While creating your plan, let your IT professional guide you through it. They’re your best resource for helping you determine an order of importance. They’ll also have a great handle on time frames for things like downtime, and they can set expectations for “if this, then that” scenarios.

Don’t let your team get out of practice. Run drills and retrain often.

Related: The Difference Between Data Backup Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

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