What would happen in the event of a disaster if your business couldn’t function or serve your customers? How long could this situation continue until you started to lose revenue and clients? At what point will you suffer damage to your reputation?
These are all important questions that every business in Ireland should ask. The answer in most cases is the downtime doesn’t need to last for very long until it starts to have a significant impact. After all, customers can always choose to go elsewhere and, in some industries, those customers simply can’t wait until you are back up and running again. This problem is exacerbated the longer the disaster situation lasts. In fact, when downtime runs into more than a day, business closure often becomes a real possibility.
Are you really at risk of a disaster that could impact and, possibly, close your business within a short space of time? In most businesses, the answer is yes. This is because there are so many potential risks facing your business.
Those risks include natural disasters, events outside your control, machine failures, IT failures, IT attacks, personnel issues, negative publicity, and more. Here are some examples:
- How would your business cope with a flood situation? How quickly could you replace stock, IT systems, equipment, etc damaged by water?
- What would happen if you could not get access to your building because of an issue nearby? For example, what if there is a structural problem in a nearby building that prevents you getting access to yours for a day or two, even though there is nothing wrong with your building?
- How quickly could you recover if your server goes down or you have another catastrophic and substantial IT failure?
- How would you cope with a cyber-attack? Would your customers’ personal data be safe? How long could you stay offline and survive? Do you have backups and have you tested them recently?
- What would happen if the majority of your staff fell ill at the same time or left your employment?
None of these things are beyond the realm of possibility in your business. For example, just because your business has never been affected by floods before doesn’t mean it can’t in the future. There are endless examples.
The Importance of Having a Disaster Recovery Plan
The main reasons you need a disaster recovery plan include:
- Natural disasters and other extreme events, like fire, can happen.
- The more your business uses IT, the more exposed you are to cyber-attack. Also, as recent ransomware attacks have shown, businesses of all sizes and in any industry can suffer from cyber-attack.
- Many businesses need client data to deliver products and services. This exposes you to risk including losing the data, having the data stolen, or accidentally letting the data fall into the hands of a third-party.
- Systems and equipment fail all the time. This includes machines, IT equipment, vehicles, and more. Depending on the severity, these failures can have a significant impact on your ability to trade.
- Everyone can make mistakes. You need to set high standards, of course, but you must also plan for occasions when things go wrong.
- Your reputation is valuable so recovering from a disaster and rebuilding your reputation is usually more expensive than taking the time to create and test an effective disaster recovery plan.
In the next blog, we will look at tips for creating a disaster recovery plan.
If you need help or advice with your business, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.