The Key Components of Backups and Disaster Recovery Plans

You’ve probably heard it before—make sure your business has a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan. But what does that plan need to include, and why is it important to have one?

Having a reliable BCDR plan can ensure that your business stays afloat in the case of an emergency. There are some key components that your backups and disaster recovery plan needs to include for your business to excel.

How Your Business Benefits From Having a BCDR Plan

About 40% of small and medium businesses fail to reopen after a natural disaster. That’s almost half of all businesses that aren’t able to get back on their feet!

Creating a backup and disaster recovery plan is much like constructing a lifeboat for your business. Just as a lifeboat is designed to keep passengers safe and afloat in the event of a shipwreck, a BCDR plan safeguards your business against unforeseen disasters and disruptions.

Having a thought-out plan can:

  • Ensure Minimal Downtime: Your business operations can quickly resume after a disaster, minimizing downtime and mitigating the loss of revenue.
  • Preserve Your Business’s Reputation: By swiftly recovering from a disaster, your business can demonstrate resilience and reliability, maintaining the trust of everyone involved in the company.
  • Reduce Stress During a Crisis: With a well-laid plan, your team will know exactly what to do when a disaster strikes, reducing chaos and confusion.
  • Protect Essential Data: You can include data backup strategies that help protect critical business data, preventing permanent loss and facilitating quick recovery.

With a well-constructed lifeboat—or a meticulous BCDR plan—your business will know exactly what to do to make sure you’re part of the 60% of businesses that stay open in the wake of a disaster.

Data Assessment

Identifying any crucial data that must be protected in the event of an emergency is one of the first steps in creating backups and disaster recovery plans. You might include customer information, financial records, and any sensitive information. By understanding what data your business needs to protect, you’ll be able to prioritize resources during a disaster.

Backup Strategies

Check that your business has backup frequency and retention policies. These can specify how long backups are kept, balancing storage costs, and historical data needs. Opt for daily backups to retain the most information, but weekly and monthly backups are an option, too.

Defining recovery objectives, including Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO), can be a critical part of a backup and disaster recovery plan. RPO is the maximum acceptable amount of data loss measured in time, while RTO is the duration for which a business process must be restored after a disaster.

Off-Site Storage and Redundancy

Storing backups in multiple physical locations mitigates the risk of a single point of failure. Also, redundancy can ensure your business has access to data even if one backup system fails—the more backups you can have, the safer your data will be.

Disaster Recovery Testing

Testing is an integral part of BCDR plans. Types of testing include full-scale tests, which simulate a real disaster event, partial tests, which focus on specific aspects, and tabletop tests, where the plan is discussed in a simulated group setting.

Communication and Notification

Don’t forget to establish clear communication channels so that everyone involved is aware of the current situation during a disaster. How will you notify stakeholders, employees, and customers about any subsequent actions? Transparency is the key to maintaining trust and confidence during crises.

Team Roles and Responsibilities

Clearly articulating individual roles and responsibilities can make certain that every team member knows what to do during a crisis—you could even put together a backup and disaster recovery team to manage an emergency event.

Documentation and Policies

Establishing well-documented policies and procedures is vital for the execution of your BCDR plan. This documentation serves as a comprehensive guide for your team during a crisis, outlining all necessary steps and actions. Without clear instructions documented for employees to follow, the structure can quickly fall away with the chaos and stress of a disaster.

Security Measures

24% of data breaches in 2023 involved ransomware, almost doubling the amount in 2022. Considering the surge in data breaches, it’s crucial to implement security measures to protect you from unauthorized access and safeguard your business data.

Implementing encryption is one measure to store data in a secure format, protecting any information even if it falls into the wrong hands.

Having access controls to limit the number of people who can access your backups also reduces the risk of accidental or intentional data loss.

Compliance and Regulation

Do you know the applicable regulations your business is required to adhere to? These regulations often depend on the nature of your business and the type of data you handle.

Here are a few key ones that many SMBs need to adhere to:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This regulation protects patients’ medical records and other personal health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): Businesses in the financial sector need to adhere to SOX, which sets rules for corporate responsibility and provides measures to prevent accounting fraud.
  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): This regulation aims to protect government information, operations, and assets against natural or man-made threats.

Compliance with these regulations can significantly mitigate legal risks; be sure to keep them in mind for an effective disaster recovery plan.

Partner With Safety Net For a Proactive Recovery Plan

You may already have backups and disaster recovery plans in place that need adjustments, or you may be taking the first steps to create a plan. Either way, Safety Net offers consultation, an offsite data center, and proactive testing to guarantee your business stays open in the event of an emergency.

Contact one of our certified technicians today to get started.