Disasters can strike at any time. The best businesses are prepared to handle a variety of situations on short notice because they have established written plans to which to refer. The goal of these plans is to provide businesses with a roadmap to resuming normal operations after an unforeseen disaster strike. As businesses become more digitized, digital information and processes require 100% uptime.
Therefore, digital data recovery and getting your business back up and running again after a disaster is now a critical component of any company’s disaster recovery plan.
The Internet of things (IoT) now plays an integral role in both prevention and recovery. Before we plunge into IoT, however, it’s important to establish how disaster recovery and disaster prevention differ.
Differences between Disaster Recovery and Disaster Prevention
Disaster prevention and disaster recovery are not the same things. While prevention handles ways to, well, prevent disaster, the recovery aspect gives you a roadmap on how to continue working after disaster strikes.
Disaster prevention encompasses all the measures you have in place to avoid disruption of your normal operations and prevent any losses to uptime. Disaster prevention includes things like:
- Having adequate security protections on your databases to prevent unauthorized access, to your customers’ sensitive information,
- Having backup generators to avoid loss of power,
- Having IoT devices that notify you if your equipment starts misbehaving, and
- AI and machine learning that notifies you when something out of the ordinary happens in your systems
Disaster recovery helps you put everything back together again after a disaster strike. It is an integral part of business continuity and focuses on resuming operations. It includes things like
- Having a designated temporary location to work from,
- Clear employee evacuation plans,
- IT recovery procedures, and
- Detailed plans on who does what during a disaster.
Note that your business needs both because it’s impossible to have a 100% solid disaster prevention.
IoT devices help in prevention and recovery
A company’s tech should be a major part of any disaster recovery plan – the Internet of things offers unique ways that businesses and employees can recover lost data (or never lose it in the first place) and get back online before you know it.
The Internet of things (IoT) is a term for the growing network of interconnected devices and technical appliances in an individual’s life or company’s network.
These can be anything from smart TVs, smart digital assistants, wearables and smart appliances. In enterprise settings, the most common type of IoT devices you’ll encounter are smart meters, security systems, and devices that monitor traffic or weather.
The traditional role of IoT enabled sensors (smart sensors) is that they detect issues before they become a full-fledged problem that will bring operations to a halt. As such, IoT is traditionally bound to disaster prevention. Yet, IoT devices are making their way to disaster recovery plans too.
Save your business with the right disaster recovery plan
It’s rather surprising how many businesses do not have a disaster recovery or business continuity plan in place, let alone any type of IoT devices that can help with it.
Some might find they don‘t need it, others might not even be aware they need it. The simple fact is, no business can afford a disaster they are not prepared to recover from.
Something will always go wrong. The main differentiator here is how well you prepare for it. Will you bounce back in no time, or will you have to close shop for months on end?
Your business could lose irreplaceable data, operation parameters, confusion may stall recovery efforts, you will break customer trust and losing revenue could be catastrophic. With natural disasters, many small businesses without a plan in place may not reopen their doors at all.
Plans established in advance have saved many businesses from meeting an unfortunate demise. If your business does not already have a disaster recovery and/or business continuity plan in place, prepare one sooner rather than later.
Much like other types of business plans and procedures, you need to plan out and write a disaster recovery plan before you’re hit with a disaster.
Doing so gives employees something concrete to refer to in case of a disaster and structured steps they need to take in an often confusing, stressful situation.
How can IoT help with Disaster Recovery?
IoT devices, combined with machine learning and AI, record tremendous amounts of data on normal operations for any business. We can harness this data after a disaster to bring operations on the last recorded level. Basically, IoT devices provide businesses with a shadow copy of their operations.
We can also use IoT devices to predict disasters. For example, smart sensors that track weather patterns can give early warning about impending natural disasters and help businesses prepare to ride out the storm.
Disaster Recovery plan guidelines
Your plan should be detailed and clear, but also offer enough room for flexibility in case of a volatile, changing situation that could not have been foreseen.
The most integral part of your plan should include:
- Overview: The overview should state your overall goals in case of a disaster. What’s the most important thing – keep operations running, minimize damages or save data?
- Guidelines on specific scenarios: These sections will outline what to do in different disasters. For example, the plan to combat a prolonged power outage will differ from recovering after a fire or flood.
- Scope of the plan: You want to outline under what exact circumstances the plan both comes into and goes out of effect.
- Key business areas and critical functions: Identify the most important operations of your business, what they depend on and prioritize them.
- Outline of Responsibilities: Here you should list tasks you have given individual team members specific responsibilities.
- IT backup and recovery procedures: Outlines the recovery procedures for key IT systems and data.
- Physical files: A section on what to do pertaining to the loss of important physical files.
- Lists of Personnel and Devices: Have all personnel and devices accounted for. Ensure the list is kept updated at all times.
- Important contacts: Useful contacts for employees to know in an emergency. Local police, attorneys, your webmaster, your insurance company and others.
Implementing your disaster recovery plan
Your disaster recovery plan should cover both your physical location and your digital networks.
Discussions of the details should include all stakeholders. Inform your employees about the plan and give them the opportunity to ask questions or offer suggestions.
Any employee designated to hold a specified role in the plan should consent to the responsibility and be capable of carrying it out.
You should delegate various important tasks and departments amongst experienced employees with specific skills or knowledge to implement the plan. Once the plan is in place, revisit it from time to time and identify places to make changes as necessary.
IoT devices save time and money
The Internet of things is becoming a central component to disaster recovery efforts because of how interconnected modern companies are and the number of different devices they use in their everyday business operations.
Understanding the role, the IoT plays in disaster recovery often helps companies craft stronger plans and makes it easier to recover lost data when a disaster of any kind strikes.