There’s no question that Hurricane Sandy‘s destruction will take years to recover from in the Northeast. In all, there was $65 billion dollars in damages – this includes home losses and business disruption. Now is the best time to assess what went wrong and what went right.
Putting in place future disaster recovery planning is best done when the situation is still top-of-mind. If not, it is too easy to only focus on the recovery and quickly forget about implementing better prevention and protection plans for the future. Proper disaster recovery planning not only protects themselves, but also the interests of the customers who trust and rely on them for the products or services they provide.
Not the First, Not the Last
Unexpected disasters or emergencies can happen anywhere in the country during any season of the year. For example, the Midwest is notorious for its severe winter storms where a strong enough blizzard can result in serious outages. The West Coast is more prone to earthquakes than other parts of the country. Then there are states in Tornado alley and other states that are more typically vulnerable during Hurricane season. Sometimes damage is localized; sometimes it is widespread. Sometime there is ample advance warning; sometimes there isn’t. It is not easy to prepare for the unexpected.
Recovery Always Follows, Though Some Losses Can’t Easily Be Replaced
While there is no loss that can compare to the tragic loss of human life, the next biggest heart-wrenching loss is that of meaningful hard-earned property. Not even taking into account the expenses, your physical property can’t be rebuilt in a couple of days. As with personal property, business property also has aspects that are not easily replaced by throwing money at it.
The most vulnerable asset for a business is its data, so data protection planning is essential. If you are part of an industry, like healthcare or credit card processing, you’ll need to invest in excellent data protection to make sure it’s safe. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to fines and other
penalties. At the very least, your customers will most likely not want to do business with you ever again if you suffer from serious data access issues during an emergency or, even worse, a data breach or data loss of any kind. And with social media, those irate customers can get the word out very quickly.
Planning is Where it All Begins
Disaster recovery planning acts like insurance: you never want to use it, but you’ll be happy to have it if you do. And, unfortunately, having a disaster recovery plan is not enough. You have to test, test and test it again to ensure that everything is up to par when you need it. And failed tests are not a bad thing. Failed tests allow you to go ahead and make changes to things that don’t work and piggyback off of things that do.
For more information on how to correctly test your plan, refer to Geoffrey Ward’s classic “Testing Disaster Recovery Plans” and Processor’s “Test Your Data Recovery Plan.”
Chris Hardwick is a NJ-based freelance writer who regularly writes about a variety of business-related topics. Follow him on twitter @hardwickman.