Is Your Information Management Strategy Ready for the Unexpected?
May 25, 2012
Build disaster preparedness into your information management plan to provide for most any eventuality of business life.
Disasters come in many flavors: A heavy rain can take its toll on a faulty roof, a burst pipe can flood a data center, or a 10-second electrical surge can fry your hardware.
It’s totally understandable that you’d be reluctant to envision the worst—a fire, flood or other disaster befalling your bustling workplace. But even though you’d rather zero in on business development (or maybe just go home early), it’s wise to spend some well-focused time on disaster preparedness.
It’s important to note that we’re not just talking about rare large-scale events here: A heavy rain can take its toll on a faulty roof, a burst pipe can flood a data center, or a 10-second electrical surge can fry your hardware. No matter what the business interruption, either man-made or natural, the sad truth is that many disaster plans are formulated only after the unwelcome event, when it’s too late to protect or recover vital business data.
A 2011 Iron Mountain survey of more than 5,500 professionals from midsize organizations found that 58 percent hadn’t yet experienced a “trigger event” that would force them to reevaluate their information management plan. That’s surprising, considering one very good reason to plan ahead: preserving the bottom line. When you calculate the cost of your downtime (by the hour, day or even week), there’s a compelling business case to be made for investment in disaster recovery planning. (See “The Business Case for Disaster Recovery Planning: Calculating the Cost of Downtime,” an Iron Mountain white paper, for more insights on this topic.)
Create a Plan to Weather the Storm
A comprehensive preparedness strategy—one that’s understood and adhered to by all employees—can help you avoid or quickly get past a business interruption. Take these steps to craft your own plan. And you don’t have to go it alone. A trusted information management partner can always ease the journey:
- Prioritize your data. What’s your most mission-critical data, and where is it stored? How is it currently backed up? Start with an inventory of your information and an analysis of its lifecycle from creation to destruction.
- Evaluate onsite recovery options. In some cases, a reliable data recovery partner can revive damaged data in-house. For example, it can freeze-dry or scan paper records after water-related damage, or restore electronic data from damaged systems or media. Have your data recovery partner look at your records and determine whether this kind of salvage would be possible should the worst occur.
- Remove your vital records and information from known disaster risks. Storing multiple backups of vital information offsite is key to effective disaster preparedness. If you’re in an area at risk for natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes, keep those backups in a different, safer region.
- Communicate during and after an event. When a crisis happens, does everyone know what to do, whom to call and where to go? Is this all in writing? To avoid downtime after an incident, get everyone talking—employees, suppliers and clients—as soon as possible.
- Test your plan. Run through your disaster recovery process at least once a year. How quickly can you retrieve vital business information from your offsite archive?
Partnering: It’ll Keep You Focused on the Core
A proactive approach to disaster recovery planning lets your business stay in control. Evaluating what a trusted information management partner can offer you in the event of an unexpected event helps reduce lost data and downtime later. Life is full of surprises, but with the right disaster preparedness plan in place, you have a much better chance of swatting the unpleasant ones away.
Iron Mountain Suggests: Achieve New Heights of Preparedness
Iron Mountain has supported more than 250 recovery efforts and 25,000 disaster recovery tests. Its expertise can help you:
- Prepare for natural disasters and weather catastrophes
- Build emergency preparedness plans
- Test disaster recovery plans to help ensure continuity of operations
- Implement best practices to facilitate recovery, even across multiple locations
- Leverage resources to get your data quickly
Iron Mountain can work with your business to implement and practice your plan before an unexpected event. Partnering with Iron Mountain can help you establish or accelerate your business’s continuity after a disruptive event by providing redundant systems, recovery and restoration assistance, labor, and more. Start by looking over Ten Steps You Can Take Today.
Do you have questions about information management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain’s Information Management team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.
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