Whether you’ve got your services hosted on a local or cloud server, IT outages can occur at anytime. While cloud servers are safer bets as they usually encounter little downtime incidents, they may falter still go down when you least expect it. For all you know, a massive DDoS attack can cripple multiple cloud servers at a time and lead to significant downtimes. The February 2017 outage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 was one such incident.
The worst part about IT outages is that they come in unannounced. If you’re not prepared for them in advance, you may not know what to do when they occur. And if you don’t recover from them quickly, they may cost your business a fortune. In fact, every minute of IT downtime costs $5,600, according Gartner. Here’s how you can recover from an IT outage quickly and begin working at your maximum efficiency again.
1. Assess The Damage
Once the IT outage has occurred, you need to start assessing the damage caused by it. You can do so by estimating the business and data you lost out on during the downtime. Additionally, you should take note of the critical systems that were affected, and the clients whose work suffered the most.
It’s important to collect this information as it helps you understand the effect of the IT outage. You should also examine all your hardware, data storage devices, transit routes, and building appliances. It’s also essential to keep your clients updated about your progress. You can do so via a social media platform or other modes of communication.
2. Determine The Cause
After assessing the damage caused by the IT outage, you need to look for its root cause. If you’re using a cloud server, you may be able to get information from the cloud host almost immediately. However, if there’s some error on your end, then you may have to dig in and find the issue that may be causing the problem for your business. When time is money, every second could cost you by losing angry customers to your competitors.
3. Assign An Incident Manager
To handle the IT outage, you should consider assigning an Incident Manager who’ll be the in-charge of looking into the problem. You should also put an IT response team in place. Doing so can help you recover from the situation quickly as the work would start getting streamlined faster.
Ideally, you should have found and prepared this person and team before the outage occurs. Nonetheless, the person you choose should have the following qualities:
- Project Management Background - They must know how to track the ever-changing workflows and always stay at the top of them. Additionally, they should be able to monitor all those working under them and note if they’re completing their tasks on time.
- Strong Communication Skills - This is a key skill that they must possess as it’s of the utmost importance during these situations. They must be able to communicate with the stakeholders, explain the situation to them, and tell them what’s being done to solve it.
4. Have Communication Tools In Place
Whenever there’s an IT outage, you must have some communication tools in place to ensure that your stakeholders aren’t left in the dark. In this type of situation, an emergency notification system can be very handy. It can help you send out notifications to your stakeholders instantly so that you can keep them updated at all times.
You should take into account the different time zones, telecommunication infrastructure, and work schedules before sending out these notifications. It helps to have a multi-channel and multi-language emergency notification system. Through it, you can ensure that the message reaches all the stakeholders, and they’re able to interpret it with ease as well.
The emergency notification system can also be used to communicate with your employees during the crisis. It can help your team collaborate better to recover from the outage quickly and maintain the continuity of the business. This would especially be effective when the software solution includes conference bridge capabilities. The best part about having such communication tools in place is that they can be used during non-crisis scenarios as well.
5. Reassess Your Recovery Plan And Practice It
If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place yet, an IT outage should be a signal for you to get one ready right away. Even if you do have one, you should reassess it once you’ve dealt with the IT outage. You should look at it and try to understand if the plan was sufficient to deal with the crisis.
It’s also necessary to brainstorm and think if you can do things differently to improve your response to such a situation the next time it occurs. However, the reassessment shouldn’t stop there. You should test your recovery plan continuously to understand if it’s still helpful and relevant.
Ideally, you should test it at least twice a year and update it based on your observations. This can help you come up with a plan that can actually work in such a crisis. Try to have solutions to as many things as possible to ensure that you’re always ready to recover from the IT outage quickly.
IT outages can affect your work and lead to a huge loss of labor hours. It’s thus essential for you to have a plan in place to recover from these outages as quickly as possible.
Analyze the situation thoroughly to understand its cause. Assign a leader to handle things and bring your IT infrastructure back on. Have a business continuity communication system in place to keep all stakeholders updated and ensure a smooth flow of work. Lastly, reassess your recovery plan and keep testing it regularly to check its effectiveness.
What are the other ways through which you can recover from an IT outage? Let me know in the comments.