Protect Your Business Data By Keeping A Disaster Diary

February 16, 2016

Protect Your Business Data By Keeping A Disaster Diary

By Donna Childs

For our latest blog series, Donna Childs will be sharing her knowledge with the Datto community. Childs is a disaster recovery expert and founder of Prisere LLC, and has advised Fortune 500 companies in risk management and operational continuity strategies. Read some of her recent posts: Getting Started With Business Continuity Planning and Making The Case For Investing In Business Continuity Measures.

As you begin to think about protecting your business against the risk of disasters, you may feel overwhelmed. There’s so much to do and so little time. Hurricanes and earthquakes are less than certain to happen, but you must, without a doubt, make payroll and perform other tasks. It is hard to make business protection a priority. 

Here’s how you start.

Start by keeping a “disaster diary” for 30 days. Every time you experience a disruption to your normal operations, make a few notes of what happened. For example, a micro-outage of the power supply caused your computer system to reboot, an event that you might not consider a disaster, but was inconvenient.

  • What were the consequences of the disruption?
  • Did you lose data? Did you miss a key deliverable?

Just write down your notes as the event occurs. The intent of this exercise isn’t to point fingers or blame people, but to gather information to discern patterns.

I predict that at the end of the 30-day period, you will review your diary and make two observations.

  1. Your definition of disaster will have changed. You will see that events not recognized by FEMA (the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) impact your operations, even though when you considered them as individual incidents, they appear trivial.
  2. You will start to identify patterns that will yield insights as to how your business operates.

Do you find that employees are more prone to make errors when they are rushing to meet last-minute deadlines? You may need to change your management style, so you proactively plan rather than react to the last-minute crisis.

Do certain employees make the same mistakes, over and over again? Maybe they require additional training.

Are you spending a lot of time trying to locate files on your computer system? Maybe you need a better system of file management, with agreed upon procedures for file naming and storage.

Are you spending too much time trying to fix everything yourself? Maybe you need to work with a trusted service provider to assume some of your responsibilities.

The insights that come from your 30-day “disaster diary” exercise will highlight that disruptions occur more commonly than you think and are more expensive than you realize. You will be motivated to take the next step – change your approach. We will address that effort in the next blog posting in this series.

For more on these and other approaches to small business risk resilience, check out our recent webinar, The 5 Keys to Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan for SMBs.

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