Data recovery is critical to IT disaster planning especially as threats loom ahead. Businesses must prepare for potential IT damage due to cyber-attack, human error, or natural disaster. 

For example, on average there are four to five cyclones per year affecting Queensland, with the cyclone season usually running from October through to the end of April. It is critical to keep your data safe and ensure business continuity. What best practices could you adopt so your business stays operational during a disaster?

Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

You can future proof your business, whether large or small, for worst-case scenario by developing a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan. A BDR plan is a set of policies and procedures that outline how you will protect and restore your business data in case of a disaster. 

It’s a misconception to think that only larger organisations need disaster recovery as we explain it in our article Why Do Small Businesses Need IT Disaster Recovery? 

Your business can benefit from a robust BDR plan as it: 

  • Ensures continuity of operations amid any catastrophe 
  • Protects your valuable data and assets 
  • Eases the impact on customers, staff, and stakeholders 
  • Minimises reputational damage to your business 
  • Decreases recovery time and costs 

Your plan should include a risk assessment, a backup strategy, a disaster recovery strategy, and a business continuity plan. 

Your Risk Assessment 

Identify the potential threats and impacts to your data and operations. This will be the basis for developing corresponding strategies and to minimise the impact of disruptions. A risk assessment can help you identify the most critical areas of your business operations and data, so you can prioritise your resources accordingly. 


Your Backup Strategy 

Your strategy must specify what and how much data to back up, the frequency of backups, and where to store them. These all depend on your business needs.  

What to back up 

Generally, back up any data that is important, irreplaceable, or hard to recreate. Those can include:  

  • Financial records 
  • Documents 
  • Emails 
  • Contacts 

You should also back up system files and applications in case you need to restore your computers or devices to a previous state.  

How much data and how often should you back up 

The amount of data to back up depends on how much storage space you have available and how often you create or modify your data. A good rule of thumb is to back up at least 10% of your total storage capacity every week. You can also do it more frequently if you have a lot of changes or additions.  

Where to store backups 

There are many ways to back up your data, using external hard drives, cloud services, network drives, or other online platforms. However, cloud backups are popular now for the following reasons: 

  • Cost-effective: No need to purchase and maintain new hardware, software, or staff. Just pay for the service and space to match the quantity of data you need to store. 
  • Scalable: You can back up data according to your requirement. As you scale up or scale down your business, you can also increase or decrease the amount of data backup. 
  • 24/7 accessibility: Since your backup is accessible through the internet, you can easily access your data from any device and from anywhere. 
  • Disaster recovery: Because your backup is remotely located, your data is safe from on-site catastrophe. Recovering data from the cloud can also be quick and easy and your business can get back on track soonest. 
  • Seamless management: Managing cloud backups can be effortless. You don’t have to spend any time on it because your IT business continuity services provider can handle it for you. 

Whatever backup method you choose, make sure you back up your data regularly and test your backups to ensure they are working properly. 

Your Disaster Recovery Strategy 

Anyone can get hit by a disaster at any time. The question is how do you get back on your feet after a major crisis? 

Establish Your Data Recovery Procedure 

You need to outline the specific actions to follow in restoring your data. Consider different scenarios and take note of the following: 

  • The priority and sequence of data restoration 
  • The verification and validation of data integrity 
  • The reporting and documentation of data recovery outcomes 

Prepare Your Tools & Resources 

Aside from the backup systems described above, make sure you have the tools and resources needed for disaster recovery, including recovery software and alternate/emergency IT equipment and staff.  

Assemble Your Data Recovery Team 

Assign roles and responsibilities to the staff members who will oversee the data recovery game plan. You should consider factors such as: 

  • Skills and expertise 
  • Communication and coordination 
  • Training and testing of the team members 

Communicate with Stakeholders 

You must keep everyone in the loop about what has happened and what’s being done to bring back operations. Here are some communication tips while undergoing IT disaster recovery: 

  • What to communicate: Provide clear and accurate information about the nature and extent of the problem, the impact on the business and the customers, the estimated time of recovery, and the actions being taken to fix the issue. Also impart any alternative solutions or available workarounds, plus instructions or precautions for people to follow. 
  • Who needs it: Identify your key stakeholders and prioritise communications based on their needs and expectations. These may include your: senior management, employees, customers, suppliers, partners, regulators, and media contacts. Tailor your message and tone to each audience and use the appropriate channels and formats for each group. 
  • When to communicate: Communicate ASAP after the incident occurs. Provide regular updates until the situation is resolved. After recovery completion, summarise what happened, what was done, and what lessons were learned. Avoid making promises you cannot keep – be honest and transparent about it all. 
  • How to communicate: Use simple and concise language, avoid technical jargon, and provide visuals/graphs if possible. Use multiple channels and formats like emails, phone calls, text messages, social media, website updates, press releases, and newsletters. Encourage feedback and questions, then respond promptly and politely. 

Your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) 

A business continuity plan outlines how your business will resume normal operations after a disaster. It also provides information on how to prevent or reduce the odds of future disasters. You need to include procedures and guidelines for restoring critical business functions, such as IT systems, communication networks, and supply chains. It should ensure the safety and well-being of employees and customers too. 

Device as a Service

If you heavily rely on technology for your business operations, you should consider implementing a Device as a Service (DaaS) strategy as a proactive part of your IT disaster planning. 

DaaS is the process of renting devices from a provider who takes care of everything from hardware to software updates. You can use DaaS to access your data and applications from any device, anywhere, anytime. This means that if your office is hit by a fire, flood, or a cyber-attack, you can still work from another location without losing productivity or data.  

DaaS can ensure continuity of business operations, reducing downtime and minimising data loss in the event of a crisis. It saves you from the cost and the hassle by eliminating the need to buy, maintain, and replace your own devices.  

An example of a comprehensive DaaS solution is Future IT Services’ Modern Mobility package. It includes: 

  • The laptop, docking station and additional monitor 
  • Latest operating system  
  • Configuration and installation 
  • Replacement every 3 years 
  • Fixed monthly fee 

Cloud Communication and Phone System  

Not only a PBX phone system helps reduce your business costs, increase efficiency, enhance customer service, and improve security, but it also allows you to stay connected and ensure collaboration when your physical location gets damaged or inaccessible. For example, a PBX system can: 

  • Redirect calls to alternative locations or devices, such as mobile phones or laptops 
  • Enable employees to work remotely from anywhere with an internet connection 
  • Provide backup power and redundancy in case of power outages or network failures 
  • Store voicemails and messages in the cloud for easy retrieval 

Enhance your Business IT Resilience with Our IT Disaster Recovery Services in Cairns 

All the IT disaster planning and the data recovery best practices we discussed in this article contribute to your business resilience – the ability of your business to keep operating in the face of disruptions, threats, or disasters. The goal here is to ensure that your business can recover quickly and effectively from any incident.  

Preparing your business IT for a potential disaster can be a bit overwhelming. This is why you should consider partnering with experts like Future IT Services. Our IT Disaster Recovery services include all the critical requirements to help you prepare and get back on track as soon as possible.    

Don’t forget to check out our datasheet on the differences between Backup and Business Continuity to avoid any surprises!