By now all businesses should have a BDR or disaster plan in place. This has become more of a standard practice rather than a last-minute product purchase – as it should be. Business owners of any kind vaguely understand this need, but what about a disaster in general. Do you know what you’re preparing for? Sure, a natural disaster could happen, but your receptionist could fat finger something causing a disaster too. Kudos on being ready, now understand what you’re ready for.

It may seem a bit redundant, but before you deploy a BDR, make sure you have gone through a thorough plan. This has to do with researching the extent of your own data as well as a potential BDR provider. You want to ensure your provider uses a program that allows for preventative maintenance, monitoring, and staff training. Having these things in place will help avoid downtime if the worst happens.

With that said, preventative maintenance is so important! Consistently ensuring everything is running as it should and testing these items will allow you some peace of mind as well as simple groundwork for successful backup. This goes beyond backup software or testing cloud storage. This is ensuring your provider’s backups work.  Important items like generators, UPSs, cooling systems, fire detection, and suppression systems. You can’t necessarily head to your provider's office to see for yourself, but you can read the fine print on your contracts as well as have meaningful conversations with potential providers.

Along with that, make sure your provider does periodic testing of all systems. Not just one or two- then the rest should be fine. Test everything from generators to security to software. That way if the worst does happen, no one can say “Ha! I told you so!” Then, of course, ask about their security. Does your plan come with 24/7 monitoring? Is the data center fully staffed during these hours? Who would mitigate the disaster plan if you aren’t readily available? This comes down to physical and cybersecurity as well. Is your data truly protected on their servers? Could anything be stolen or compromised from their end? There are tons of questions to ask and don’t be afraid to do so. A good BDR business will put you at ease and keep your data safe.

An important item that often gets overlooked while researching a BDR provider is location. Think about it, if the backup server for your company is sitting in a location that sees seasonal hurricanes or located on top of an active earthquake fault, you may want to negotiate additional server space elsewhere or cloud storage that doesn’t back up to that on-premise server. It would really be unfortunate if your backup plan is foiled by a disaster that takes place halfway across the country. Local businesses aren’t affected, but lucky you! This is not to say avoid these locations altogether. Realistically a slew of disasters could happen all over the world, so it’s more about backing up your backup. Or at least ensure your provider also has a backup plan.

Then finally, compile a team as part of your plan. That team of people will be the ones that need to deal with anything disaster-related. Make sure they are trained well and update that training to reflect new threats, products, or anything else that could help them help you. You don’t necessarily want Mary your office manager heading up this team. She did great with the backups when they were on tape, but for this kind of “A-team”, you need your go-to pros. Get your best techs and the ones well versed in data center operations. This team is just another step toward peace of mind and simple preparedness. Don’t lose your business over something that could’ve been avoided. Take the time and steps now before something happens. Mother nature is unpredictable… but so is business.