Disaster recovery plans are an important part of any organization’s risk management process. A disaster recovery plan helps ensure that your organization will be able to continue functioning in the event of a disaster, reducing downtime and the resulting loss.
Disaster recovery planning is a process that requires careful consideration of the risks your organization faces and the likelihood of those risks materializing. It also requires that you think about the consequences of those risks coming to fruition.
Disaster recovery plans are flexible, and they can be put into place in a variety of ways. No two organizations have the same needs or the same capabilities, so a disaster recovery plan is something that you’ll need to think long and hard about before you can come up with a solution that’s right for your organization.
The first step is to identify the risks that your organization faces and then the likelihood of those risks coming to fruition. This will help you to determine what your disaster recovery plan needs to cover. Some of the risks that most organizations face are:
- Natural disasters (such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes)
- Man-made disasters (such as building fires or explosions)
- Human error (such as power outages)
- Internal and external security breaches
- Technical problems (such as electrical surges)
Once you’ve identified the risks and potential consequences, you’ll be able to determine what your disaster recovery plan needs to cover. This is a two-step process, since you’ll need to figure out how to prevent the disaster and then what to do if the disaster does occur.
Step one is to prevent the disaster from occurring, which is best done by conducting a risk assessment. This will help you to determine what you can do to prevent the disaster from happening.
Step two is to develop a plan of action for if the disaster does occur. This means figuring out what you need to do to minimize the damage and get back to a normal business operation as quickly as possible.
A disaster recovery plan helps an organization to recover quickly from a disaster. It also helps an organization to minimize the impact of the disaster, which reduces the resulting downtime and loss.
The key to creating a successful disaster recovery plan is to identify the risks your organization faces and to conduct a thorough risk assessment. This will help you to create a plan that will minimize the impact of any future disasters.
Disaster recovery in the real world
Recently, many organizations around the world were impacted by a SalesForce outage that lasted close to 4 hours. During this time, users were unable to access the tool and many of SalesForce’s own websites (including its status page) were offline or inaccessible.
If your organization depends on SalesForce to communicate with its clients like mine does, this outage was nothing short of catastrophic. While we were able to “get by” through alternative methods and could continue working, our efficiency was significantly impacted.
We were fortunately able to inform our clients of the disruption so there was some understanding but in the early stages of the outage, no-one really knew what to do. Some key takeaways for us were:
- Explore backup communication channels to inform clients. This includes our own internal status pages as well as distribution lists and other in-app communication tools.
- Launch internal triage channels faster with specific teams/individuals to ensure that mitigation steps are being taken faster. Consider creating a cross-company “emergency task force”.
- Provide alternative access to systems (we found during the outage that SalesForce classic was still accessible while Lighting was not) to key teams and individuals. We were also able to continue communicating directly via email but this wasn’t ideal as multiple agents could access the same message.
- Have an easily accessible list of names and numbers for key members of the team. This should be in a shared location in multiple systems (SalesForce Knowledge, Google Drive, Confluence etc.) as well as printed as a hard copy in case network access is an issue also.
With the recent Canada-wide Roger’s network outage in April still fresh, this new SalesForce outage makes it clear how dependent we’ve all become on technology. Perhaps more importantly, it also highlights the importance of not ignoring disaster recovery planning as the next outage could come at you out of nowhere.