It’s critical that organizations have a plan to protect both their physical records and their electronic data. This is called a disaster recovery plan. 

In this article, we’ll break down why it’s so important. We’ll show you how to craft a plan, use it effectively when needed, and keep it updated. Plus, we’ll guide you on how to research a scanning company’s backup & recovery plans before you work with them. 

Being well-informed can be essential if you ever face unexpected data loss.

“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”

 – Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web

What is a Backup Disaster Recovery Plan?

A Backup Disaster Recovery Plan, or BDR plan, epitomizes a strategy by an organization to both protect and recover hard copy records and digital data in the face of potential disasters. This includes human-induced disasters like cyber-attacks and data breaches, as well as natural calamities such as floods, fires, or hurricanes. 

At the heart of the BDR plan are two interlocking components: data backup and disaster recovery. Data backup refers to the process of duplicating vital data and storing it securely in another location. On the other hand, disaster recovery involves restoring data from these backups and ensuring minimal downtime during recovery.

Dial that reads disaster recovery plan

How does such a plan work? Essentially, it outlines the tasks, resources, and procedures needed to recover lost data and return to normal operations as swiftly as possible. It typically includes key information like: 

  • The location of data backup facilities
  • Emergency response actions
  • A list of crucial personnel and their responsibilities
  • Steps to restore the IT infrastructure
  • Review and testing methods for the plan

Without a well-articulated BDR plan, your organization may suffer prolonged system outages, financial losses, and possibly even jeopardize its long-term survival. Hence, it’s crucial to not only create and implement a BDR plan but also keep it updated and relevant.

Understanding the Importance of Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans

When confronted with the inevitability of disasters, it’s crucial to understand why a backup and disaster recovery plan is an indispensable investment for any organization. Such plans ensure the continuity of operations and safeguard your hard copy records and digital data, which can often hold invaluable insights and critical business intelligence. 

140,000 hard drives crash in the United States each week. It’s a staggering figure that reveals just how crucial it is for organizations to have a BDR plan in place. A well-structured plan not only helps a business recover from data loss, it also aids in maintaining continuity of operations, minimizing financial losses, and reaffirming stakeholder trust.

Virtual representation of files being stored in the cloud

Consider a scenario: your organization has suffered a catastrophic event. Perhaps a tornado has physically demolished your office, or a dreaded cyber-attack has wiped out your hard drives. Without a backup and disaster recovery plan, your business may face a mountain of lost information and struggle to keep its doors open in the aftermath. 

  • Protection of Critical Data: First and foremost, a backup and disaster recovery plan protects your organization’s vital information. It creates digital or physical copies of all important documents and data, allowing for its recovery even in the face of data loss incidents.
  • Mitigate Downtime: Such a plan can help significantly reduce downtime. It enables a quick and efficient recovery after an incident, ensuring your organization can restore its normal operations sooner rather than later.
  • Client Confidence: Implementing and maintaining a good backup and disaster recovery plan boosts your clients’ confidence in your business, as they can be assured that their data is secure and well-protected.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Many industries have regulations that require businesses to have a backup and disaster recovery plan in place. Non-compliance can result in heavy fines or legal action.

Remember: a disaster recovery plan not only ensures your business’s survival during hard times but also fosters resilience and readiness for potential future obstacles.

Researching A Scanning Company’s Plan 

“If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.”

As the adage goes, planning is key and the importance of research can’t be overstressed when engaging with a scanning company. When assessing potential partners, don’t hesitate to ask about their own backup and disaster recovery plans. By doing so, you can confirm that your critical data will be managed securely and in case of any unfortunate incidents, recovered promptly. 

  1. Understand their process: Knowing the details of their backup process can provide you with a clear picture of its comprehensiveness. The process should include regular backups and the ability to recover files quickly when needed.
  2. Evaluate their infrastructure: Assess if the scanning company’s infrastructure can withstand disasters. This includes both their physical facilities, which protect against hazards like fire or flood, and their digital defenses against cyber threats.
  3. Check their track record: A company’s history of data management and recovery can speak volumes about their capabilities. 

In the end, your organization’s continuity, data security, and reputation depend on a robust and updated backup and disaster recovery plan. That’s why it’s prudent to understand its importance and ensure its meticulous execution, for today and for all the unpredictable tomorrows.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Organization

Adopting a proactive approach and creating a disaster recovery plan is an excellent start for protecting your organization’s data. This step-by-step guide will help you understand how to put together a comprehensive and effective plan. 


Identifying Key Assets and Resources 

Before you can start drafting a plan, it’s crucial you understand what you’re protecting. Make an inventory of your digital data and hard copy records. Document their locations, the employees who are responsible for them, and how they’re currently being backed up, if at all. 


Document Potential Threats and Vulnerabilities 

Every organization operates within a unique setting that’s vulnerable to a range of threats. Detail potential hazards likely to disrupt your operation–natural disasters like floods or fires, cyber attacks, equipment malfunctions, etc. Offer specific scenarios and document how these could damage or disrupt your data and records.

Person on a laptop being warned about a threat

Formulate Response Strategies 

For each identified threat, develop a corresponding response strategy. This process involves outlining the steps your organization will take in the event of such a threat to secure and recover data and hard copy documents. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. Craft strategies tailored to your organization’s unique needs and situation. 


Establish a Disaster Recovery Team 

Create a team comprising members from different departments who will be responsible for implementing your disaster recovery plan. Ensure each team member is familiar with the plan, their role in it, and is adequately trained.

Group of workers discussing a plan or project

Create a Communication Plan 

In the event of a disaster, smooth communication is key. You’ll need a concise and clear strategy to keep your team informed and coordinate the recovery process. Incorporate elements such as emergency contacts, a detailed communication process, and alternative communication channels into your plan. 


Regular Plan Testing and Updating 

Your plan shouldn’t be static. It should evolve as your organization grows and changes. Regularly review, update, and run drills to test your plan. This not only keeps your plan relevant and up-to-date but also ensures your team can execute it effectively when needed.

Best Practices for Implementing Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Now that you’ve your backup and disaster recovery plan in place, it’s time to understand how to effectively implement it. Remember, even the most comprehensive plan is ineffective if it’s not implemented properly. 

Training: Make sure all employees understand the plan and their role in disaster recovery. Consider conducting regular training sessions. This not only helps employees remember the steps but allows them to practice and become more proficient with the process. 

Data: Backing up your organization’s data is critical to a recovery plan. Automate backups whenever possible; this might involve daily backups, incremental backups, or real-time syncing. Keep these backups in multiple locations; both on-premise and off-site. Remember to periodically check that your backup systems are working and can restore data accurately. 

Efficient Recovery: Every minute counts during disaster recovery. Strive to minimize the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the duration of time it takes from when a failure occurs until all services are up and running again. The quicker operations are restored, the less the impact on the business. 

Vendors: Stay in touch with relevant vendors, like your scanning company, to ensure they can provide quick and efficient support when required. Keep their contact information at hand and discuss their disaster recovery processes as part of your vetting process.

Keeping Your Plan Updated 

An ongoing process, disaster recovery planning requires periodic updates, to reflect the changing nature of your business, technology, and risks. The following are key considerations: 

  • Regular Reviews: Allocate time, at least annually, to check and update the plan as necessary. Review procedures, contacts, and support agreements.
  • Business Expansion: If your business expands or changes, your disaster recovery plan should too. This applies to opening new locations, adding new technology, or changing key personnel.
  • Technological Developments: New technologies can impact how you manage data and recover from disasters. Stay aware of these developments and adjust your plan as needed.
  • Successful Drill: Perform regular drills to test your plan. This experience often reveals unexpected gaps that can then be addressed.
Abstract image of machine belt system

Disaster recovery planning isn’t one-and-done. It’s a continuous process of review and refinement to protect your organization’s hard copy records and digital data from unforeseen circumstances. With a thorough disaster recovery plan in place, your organization will be ready to respond efficiently when needed, minimizing both downtime and impact to your business.

What to Ask a Scanning Company about Their Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans

Understanding the backup and disaster recovery plans of your scanning company is vital. Here are some questions you may want to ask: 

  • What is your disaster recovery plan?
  • How often do you back up data?
  • How quickly can you restore lost data?
  • What types of disasters does your plan cover?
  • Do you encrypt backups?
  • How often do you test your disaster recovery plan?

Think of these questions as starting points, and don’t hesitate to ask further questions based on the responses you get. Remember, the ultimate goal is to ascertain that your data is safe in the hands of the scanning company and that they have comprehensive plans in place to recover it in case of a disaster.

Closing Thoughts

Preparing for the unexpected is never a task to be overlooked, especially when it involves protecting your organization’s invaluable records and digital assets. This is why a backup and disaster recovery plan plays an instrumental role. Think of it as your organization’s safety net, assuring minimal interruptions when mishaps occur. 

When partnering with an external scanning company, ensure you inquire about their backup and recovery plans. The absence of a robust strategy could put your data security at risk. Thorough research about their procedures is crucial to enhance your organization’s resilience following a disaster.  

In conclusion, your backup and disaster recovery plan needs constant care and attention. It’s not a one-time task, but an ongoing commitment. By adopting the right attitude and maintaining constant vigilance, your organization can stay safe and run smoothly, even when surprises come knocking at your door.

Next Steps

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