Disaster Recovery Training for Employees

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Whether in the form of a ransomware attack, power outage, or even Mother Nature, disaster can strike at a moment’s notice. That’s why it’s imperative that organizations have a disaster recovery plan in place. While many companies have devised methods of protecting critical data, business applications, and other company technology, they may not have created official company policies—and if they have, it may not have been shared with all employees.

Just like many offices practice fire drills to protect employees, having a well-prepared infrastructure also requires an occasional drill to ensure critical data remains protected. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t take the time to plan training or drills, believing it’s unproductive or unnecessary. Studies show that 75% of small businesses have the “it’ll never happen to us” mindset, and forgo a legitimate plan of action. But, according to FEMA, the reality is that half of all small businesses will never reopen following a disaster. That means if there’s no plan in place, it’s time to create one. And, if a plan is in place, it’s time to make sure your employees fully understand it.

General Employee Training

Once company decision-makers understand the importance of training, be sure the message comes from the top so that employees understand training is not something to be taken lightly, and that attendance or participation is mandatory. A few quick procedures that can be communicated to all employees include:

  • How to access the VPN, or the company cloud service if they need to work remote until the emergency situation has subsided
  • How to contact other employees if needed (a list of employees and contact information needs to be distributed to all)
  • How to access other means of communications, such as an emergency voicemail recording that provides situation updates for employees

Once these basic contingency plans have been communicated, certain procedures can be taught. Depending on the size of the organization, training and drills can be held with all employees at once (minus IT; more on them in a minute) or an employee training schedule can be created. Some drill procedures that can be conducted include how to:

  • Switch over to alternate power
  • Check uninterrupted power supply (UPS) backup devices
  • Test alternate internet connections
  • Access replicated data they may have stored in the cloud

The training facilitator will also want to walk through relocation procedures for both employees and their equipment.

 IT Employee Training

The IT department is instrumental in maintaining business continuity and keeping systems available and accessible during a disaster; so, IT employees are going to have a much larger role to play in any emergency.

 Depending on the size of the company, training and drills may need to be broken out into multiple sessions (it may also be too disruptive to the company’s well-being to have all IT employees engaged in training at one time). Regular drills for IT staff may include testing:

  • Failover of any data or systems replicated to a cloud service
  • Restoration snapshots of virtual servers
  • Battery power by placing systems on a battery and seeing how long they can run

Because a well-trained IT staff is critical to a successful disaster recovery strategy, be sure to keep a log of each employee that has attended the sessions. It’s to be expected that some seasoned IT professionals may think it’s unnecessary for them to attend due to their experience. Rather than plainly telling them it’s mandatory and causing strife, consider appealing to their ego and saying that their presence is requested because of their experience, and that their input is valued. Who knows? They may have some great ideas that require a policy change. After all, they’re the ones in the trenches every day and they may have valuable disaster recovery solutions of their own.

 Considering Disaster Recovery as a Service

Disaster recovery planning and training can be a daunting task, especially for small and mid-size organizations. That’s why in the past, organizations would choose to risk it all—a very dangerous proposition because of a lack of time or resources. But today, in lieu of this, some companies turn to disaster recovery training classes, or look to a cloud provider that offers Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). DRaaS, when offered by a reputable partner, can offer easy implementation, 24/7 access to experts, cost benefits, fast recovery times, high levels of security, accessibility, and peace of mind. Want to learn more? Download the free eBook, DRaaS: Everything You Need to Know. Within its 14-pages, filled with statistics and visual-aids, you’ll read about each of the following:

  • Planning for the Inevitable
  • The Biggest Causes of Concern
  • How DRaaS Makes a Difference
  • The Cost Benefits of DRaaS
  • DRaaS in Action: Case Studies
  • Choosing a DRaaS Provider
  • DRaaS Onboarding Checklist
  • And more!

DRaas: Everything You Need to Know

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