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How to Recover After a Data Disaster

Having a data disaster occur where your business loses its data, or the data of its customers can be a business owners’ worst nightmare. Not being able to access important information can cause your day to day business to grind to a complete halt. If a data disaster does occur, here is how you should approach the situation to get everything back to normal as soon as possible.

Reference Your Plan
Prior to a data disaster ever occurring, your business should compile a plan. The plan is the first thing you will reference if an emergency occurs, so you know who needs to be notified and in what order you need to escalate everything in. The time to plan is not when you are in the middle of a data disaster, so make sure you have this in place before you ever need it, and hopefully, you won’t ever need to reference it.

Focus on Mission Critical Systems First
When you put together your data recovery plan, you should have identified which key systems are the most crucial to your business. These are the systems that you need to focus on first. If you do not have a plan but are in the middle of an emergency then think about which systems need to take priority, this will allow you to strategize on how to tackle the issue. Even if they are not the easiest systems to get up and running first, you need to focus on the systems that are going to have the biggest impact on your business, then get those up and running again as fast as you and your team can.

Call in the Team
This is another important part of the disaster plan that you need to outline, which people or teams of people need to be on site when an emergency occurs. This might also extend beyond your immediate team to any third-party contractors who work with you on your IT needs. Make sure you have their contact information easily accessible, and ideally have a conversation with them before a disaster occurs to let them know when they might be called in after hours to address an issue. There is a good chance that when disaster strikes, it’s going to be outside of your regular business hours so being able to mobilize the team quickly can help you mitigate potential damage.

Does the data disaster affect any customers or clients? If so, do you need to notify them? If anyone will be unable to access a system or platform, or if anyone has had their personal data compromised then you’re going to need to let them know. These conversations are tough, but the sooner you have them, the better. You never want to look like you’re hiding behind something, so work with your team to craft an informed and helpful email to let everyone affected know what’s going on.

Review What Happened
Once you are out of emergency mode, it’s time to review what went wrong and how the team responded. This is a good time to learn from the disaster so you can work to avoid repeat disasters in the future and to review opportunities for improving your team’s response.
Maybe an important contractor wasn’t notified, or clients were upset. By reviewing every step of your response, you can help fine tune things and learn what needs to go better for next time.

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