A data disaster can strike from virtually anywhere, be it a natural disaster, hardware failure, database breach or corruption, or theft. While you can never be fully insulated from the unpredictable, proactively planning for the worst case scenario could end up saving your business time and money down the road. Here are some things to consider doing before disaster strikes:

Establish a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). A DRP lays out the processes and procedures your company will follow to protect and recover an IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Documenting these procedures before you need them means you can hit the ground running in the event of a real disaster. And, once this is in place, you’ll also want to…

Establish a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). A BCP goes hand-in-hand with a DRP and is just what it sounds like: a framework that enables your business to continue its operations in the event of a disruption. BCPs outline things like team roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster, how your business will notify customers and employees, and where employees can work from if your physical office is damaged.

Backup your data. And then back it up somewhere else. You never plan on having to go to the hospital or emergency room, but having health insurance makes you feel somewhat better about it. Backing up data is kind of like that—you never want to rely on your backups, but there is some comfort knowing they are there. It’s important to backup your data in multiple places (i.e. onsite and offsite) to minimize the risk of a fire or flood wiping out everything stored at a physical location. And with the rise of cloud-based storage services, you can have one less thing to worry about because your data will be stored on virtual servers.

Share policies and processes with employees. The best intentions will go unnoticed if your disaster processes aren’t effectively communicated with your employee base. Policies should be given to employees (either through an email attachment or hard copy) and then stored on a company intranet (if available). Developing employee training around this subject can also be a viable option to ensure a disaster’s immediate aftermath doesn’t involve an extensive Q&A session.

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