Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Disaster Recovery Plan" May Not Be Sexy, But It Will Save Your Business Assets

I think Dale Carnegie said it best "plan for the worst, and only good things can happen".   In previous blogs I've talked about how 50% of businesses file for bankruptcy immediately after a disaster which prevents them from accessing their data for 10 days or more.  93% will file for bankruptcy within one year following a disaster. Clearly, these companies were ill prepared, and the worst happened because of this lack of preparation.

In the blog "What Kind of Disasters Can Put Your Business Out of Business" I discussed what were the most common disasters that caused these companies to file for bankruptcy.  Many of these so called "disasters" do not fall in the category of "acts of God".  In fact, the majority of these disasters are "man made" and therefore are 100% preventable.

It does take information to know what to do, and it takes motivation to implement a plan.  Sitting on the information won't do you any good. You need to put that information into action.  Now that I've outlined what can happen and how certain disasters can impact your business, you will need to know what can be done to prevent, mitigate or even recovery from these disasters.

The best approach to managing disasters is a combination of the following:

  • Disaster Prevention
    • For those events that are within your control to prevent then take the steps necessary to prevent the disaster from occurring.  Even if you are not confident you can 100% prevent the event, even reducing the likelihood or mitigating the effects can save money or even your business.
  • Disaster Recovery Planning 
    • For those events that are outside your control then develop a plan to recovery from these disasters in such a way that produces the minimal impact on your business when that disaster strikes

But, what is this disaster prevention and planning going to cost my business in time and money?

That is an excellent question, but you are putting the cart before the horse.  You should first ask, "If a particular disaster strikes my business, what will be the financial impact on my business?" And, you need to determine not just the short term financial impact, but potentially the long term financial impact as well.  Once you have put together reasonably accurate financial impact numbers, then you can start examining the disaster prevention and recovery planning costs.  At this stage it is more like shopping for insurance. 

In the next series of blogs I'll drill down into more detail about the most effective methods of disaster recovery and prevention planning.