Saving for a rainy day is a good idea, but thoroughly planning for one could save your business. As Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast proved, a hurricane or other catastrophic event can wipe out hardware, data, telecom, supposedly “airtight” disaster plans and even an entire company.
Fortunately for your midsize professional services firm, this project to address a worst-case disaster will happen only on the whiteboard. Your goal: Hedge your disaster recovery plan’s emphasis on prevention with a clear outline of what you will do if those preventive measures are overwhelmed.
The most complete disaster recovery plan is actually a series of what-if scenarios that dictate your response at every step to a wide variety of circumstances, according to Julius Neudorfer, director of network services for North American Access Technologies in Hawthorne, N.Y. “It’s like playing Survivor with your company,” he says. “You’ve been dropped onto a desert island: now what?”
To solve the “what,” start with the “who,” says David Remnitz, a senior director and data recovery expert with FTI Consulting in New York. The well-being of your employees is the first priority, of course, and your emergency response will need to consider that some staff simply will not be available. Plan for a small group of top managers to lead the overall assessment by coordinating information from a dozen specialist teams that will assess the status of facilities, communications, network infrastructure, data, applications and other critical components.
This comprehensive assessment, which should be completed in five days or fewer, will direct the immediate next steps to stabilize your I.T. operations. Quickly reestablishing telecom systems is essential as your technology specialists face weeks of data recovery, application support and hardware installation.
This only-a-drill project will also help you save for that rainy day by outlining worst-case cost scenarios. The return on investment? Making sure you have a business to invest in, come what may.