When most people think of the word ‘disaster,’ they imagine natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Any incident that disrupts data center operations, including hardware or software failure, attacks, or accidental data deletion, can be costly to productivity and reputation. That is part of the reason IT spending on data center systems worldwide was predicted to reach $208 billion in 2020. Spending more upfront can mitigate the effects of data center disasters.

Companies still must deal with disasters occasionally. The nature of the disaster impacts the specific response. But certain practices are nearly universal.

1. Have a Plan Before Disaster Strikes

If companies only consider recovery after a disaster occurs, it is already too late. Businesses that want to survive disasters while complying with data storage must assess assets and the type and likelihood of catastrophe that can occur. Businesses need redundant backups: a hot backup on-site and at least two data center backups.

Specialized companies that offer mission-critical support solutions should be identified and even contacted to establish recovery plans beforehand. Staff on the disaster recovery team need specific roles to fulfill when a disaster occurs. Everyone plays a part in returning to business as usual.

2. Test Regularly

Having a data recovery plan is not enough if it has not been tested. Testing shows what a company’s plan fails to cover or when it needs to shift if operations or even staff have changed. Testing a disaster response plan under normal conditions also ensures that employees understand how to complete their roles and that the workforce is used most effectively should a disaster occur. It may also even minimize the risk of disasters happening because of human error.

3. Prioritize Operations

Some activities must continue, even while data center service is underway. A company needs a plan to restore or continue its most crucial operations, including the data related to it. This may require backup generators, redundant data storage for those operations, or off-site data storage or operability. A company’s data recovery plan may include introducing new hardware, either off-site or in the facility, to resume critical operations while other activities remain unavailable.

When employees know their responsibilities after a disaster, critical data is securely backed up, and the recovery plan has been devised and tested, recovery can begin. With a plan in place, resuming operations will be more efficient because it is a process of calmly following a checklist rather than chaotic scrambling.