No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios, but creating a disaster recovery plan before you need one could save your organization a major hit to your reputation (not to mention millions of dollars). The recent ransomware attack against UKG should be a wake-up call for every business out there operating without a solid plan. Recent studies show that the average length of downtime after ransomware attacks on organizations in the United States was 22 days. And according to Veeam’s 2021 Data Protection Report, the average cost of one hour of downtime is a whopping $84,650!

Of course, ransomware isn’t the only sort of catastrophic event capable of taking down a business. From natural disasters to a worldwide pandemic, there are many factors to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your ERP solution (and your business) safe, which can be a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this article, we’ll go over what “disaster recovery planning” actually is, how to develop an ERP disaster recovery plan, and share a few tips and tricks for making that process go smoothly. Let’s get started.

What is Disaster Recovery Planning?

A disaster recovery plan is a form of security planning that helps organizations maintain or recover infrastructure and systems after an unexpected event, and will include a set of procedures and policies to follow if a disaster occurs. An effective plan allows a business to resume operations by quickly regaining access to hardware, software, applications, and critical data. 

Effective disaster plans account for a variety of different types of disasters that could impact a business, from natural events like tornadoes or fires, to human-caused issues like cyberattack or system failure. Taking the time to develop a solid disaster recovery plan means preparing for any of these circumstances so that you can reduce downtime and save money. 

How to Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan

The first step in creating a disaster recovery plan is to conduct a risk assessment and business impact analysis. You’ll need to identify security vulnerabilities to develop the procedures that will best suit your company’s unique situation because the plans you create for one sort of disaster will be different than those you create for another. Be sure to include immediate, intermediate, and long-term responsibilities for the organization. And don’t forget that a comprehensive disaster recovery plan addresses corrective measures in the event of a disaster and preventative measures to keep them from happening in the first place.

Here are some steps to follow as you build out your disaster recovery plan: 

Inventory Assets

Begin by identifying your entire IT environment, including software, hardware, data, endpoints, and real estate. This will help you understand exactly what needs to be protected within your enterprise if disaster strikes.

Develop Priorities

Once you know what you have when everything is up and running as it should be, it’s crucial to determine which applications you’ll need to have access to quickly should your systems go down. (NOTE: “All of them” is not a good answer to this question. Consider this the business equivalent of asking what you carry to safety if your house catches fire.)

Delegate Responsibilities

If a catastrophic event occurs, everyone should understand what their roles and responsibilities will be to get the company back up and running as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to include employees, partners, and third-party vendors to this list.

Tips for Disaster Recovery Planning 

While every disaster is different—as is the way any individual company will react to that disaster—our experience has taught us some handy tips that are useful for nearly every organization when it comes to helping prevent and prepare for the unknown.

Back Up Your Data

Backups should be conducted regularly to ensure minimal disruption in case of the worst. We also suggest following the 3-2-1 rule of backup: have three copies of data on two different sorts of media and one copy stored offsite. (Note: offsite storage could include the cloud.) 

Test and Test (and Test Again) 

Creating a disaster recovery plan is a great place to start, but testing and revising that plan is key to long-term success. Carry out several rounds of practice drills before disaster strikes, and you’ll be able to modify your procedures when you uncover any gaps or problems. (After all, would you rather learn about a hole in the bottom of a life raft before you have to abandon ship, or after?)

Update Regularly

Modern business technologies change at a rapid pace, as do organizations. This is why we recommend regularly revisiting your plan—periodic updates can help you can foresee and forestall any issues that may arise because of these changes.  

Appoint a Team

Ensure your disaster recovery team not only has the latest information on whatever the plan is, but they’re prepared to communicate that plan to key staff and leadership when needed. This team should also have regular training exercises and updated contact information in the event of any emergency. 

Partner with the Experts at Surety Systems 

Creating a disaster recovery plan for your ERP software can ensure your organization can operate with as little downtime as possible, no matter what sort of disaster you face. Whether you’re at the beginning stages of disaster recovery planning, or you need help testing and fine-tuning your current plan, our senior-level IT consulting team can help.

Contact us today for a disaster recovery plan evaluation.