Originally published in The Cooperative Accountant, Summer 2021 Issue
Too many companies aren’t prepared to handle a disaster or business continuity event. Rather than putting it off indefinitely, companies need to make an effort to get a disaster recovery plan in place. The list below offers a series of steps that can be taken to reinforce the ability to bounce back from anything that may become a disaster – whether it’s a broken water pipe or a full-blown natural disaster.
1. Protect Your Data.
If you don’t have your data, it’s all over. Even if you don’t have a formal recovery plan, backing up your data is one of the quickest and easiest ways to protect your coop. There are now backup appliances available from over a hundred vendors that allow you to save your data every 15 minutes or so, with one appliance on-site and another in a remote location, for a relatively reasonable price. Companies can also save their data in the cloud, either through dedicated backup providers, or through individual cloud-based software applications. Companies might consider a mutual aid arrangement, where two companies in different locations host backup facilities for each other. Whatever your method, you’ll want to
make sure that you’re backing up everything at your company, from individual PCs and portable devices up to multi-location networks. And picking a method is only the beginning. You need to test it on a regular basis. This can range from spot checks to see that individual documents have been saved, up to full “bare metal restores” of all of your data and applications. Without double-checking the backups,
firms may find themselves in the same shoes as the accountant who provided a favorite quote about a failed system: “Our backup was working perfectly – we just can’t restore from it.” Until the backups are restored, you won’t know if you have data or not.