A disaster recovery (DR) plan is a business continuity plan that details a predefined approach and procedure for how a business will continue to run in the case of a disaster. Its focus is on getting all the applications and systems back to normal after an unexpected event strikes.
While some emergencies can’t be prevented because, for example, no one can stop an incoming hurricane, there are things that can be done to minimize its impact and the outcome. That’s precisely where DR plans go into play.
With that said, whether it’s a natural disaster or an event caused by human mistakes, disaster recovery plans might be vital for small e-commerce entrepreneurs. Continue reading below to learn more about their benefits and importance, so you too can decide whether that’s something you’d like to implement as a part of running your company.
Disaster recovery plan for small businesses: benefits and importance
There are many things that can go wrong when running a business, especially when a single point of failure can inhibit business operations, so it’s essential to have a clear picture of what could happen and how you can handle it. That’s exactly why a disaster recovery plan is so useful.
You might be wondering why is it necessary if you’re a small e-commerce business? The answer is simple: your resources might be smaller than when it comes to large companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be affected by a disaster. In fact, as a small e-commerce entrepreneur, you might be more vulnerable because you might not have the backup plans and the financial stability that large businesses have.
A disaster recovery plan will allow you to:
- Identify potential threats related to your business and assess their likelihood of occurring;
- Prepare a detailed plan that describes how to deal with emergencies systematically;
- Establish a communication protocol with all the team members in case you need to contact each other in a hurry;
- Identify the equipment and components that your business depends on and their potential suppliers;
- Include a list of all the data files and physical documents to store their copies elsewhere so you can restore them if needed;
- Continue doing business even when a disaster strikes by maintaining a supply of crucial materials and parts for your equipment.
Disaster recovery plan for small businesses: elements that make it work
So, how can you create a disaster recovery plan that will help your small business stay afloat in times of emergency?
Here are some things you should consider:
Identify the risks and potential threats
It’s essential to identify all the risks and potential threats related to your business. This way, you’ll know what to look out for and how to minimize their impact if they happen. You will need to consider the following:
- the business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship or partnership);
- your employees (e.g., working remotely or on-site);
- the IT infrastructure (e.g., online store and databases);
- the communication systems;
- any other suppliers (e.g., delivery services).
Develop a detailed disaster recovery plan
Once you’ve identified all the risks and potential threats related to your business, you need to develop a detailed DR plan that contains solutions for systematically dealing with emergencies. You need to keep in mind that this will become your blueprint if something goes wrong when you won’t have time to think about what needs to be done next – everything will already be outlined in detail in your plan. The plan should include solutions for all types of disasters, including natural and human-made ones.
Establish communication protocol with all team members
When your business faces an emergency situation due to one of the risks or threats identified earlier, you will need to communicate with all the team members involved in order to quickly resolve the problem. For example, if someone needs to be evacuated because their workplace has been affected by flooding or an earthquake has occurred nearby, it would be crucial to receive information about the nearest safe zones where they can go to avoid any harm.
That’s why it’s very vital for everyone involved in your business to establish a communication protocol, so they know what to do and who to contact at all times. You can use different tools for this purpose – email notifications, text messages via mobile phones or office phones.
Add critical data protection tools
Another thing you may want to consider adding to your disaster recovery plan is a data protection system. With these tools available, you can protect all your critical data files from getting lost or destroyed in a disaster. Some good examples of these tools are RAID arrays, multiple hard drives, data backups, or cloud storage.
Prepare your equipment supplies
Last but not least, you should prepare your equipment supplies so they don’t run out or become unavailable when your business faces an emergency. For example, suppose your company runs out of IT equipment parts. In that case, you may not be able to continue doing business until they’re repaired or replaced.
If you’re serious about protecting your business against potential threats and having a solid plan in place in case something goes wrong, you should consider developing your own DRP. The plans are vital if the business is in a high-risk area or related to an industry often affected by natural disasters.
You can do so by identifying all the risks and potential threats related to the business, developing solutions for dealing with potential emergencies, establishing a communication protocol with all team members, and adding critical data protection tools to protect the most important files and information.
When you have a disaster recovery plan in place, you can rest easy knowing your small business will be as prepared as possible.