Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes can significantly damage or completely bring down a healthcare data center, putting patients at risk if a disaster recovery (DR) plan is not in place.

The widespread damage and operational shutdowns caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 forced hospitals to re-evaluate the integrity and effectiveness of their contingency plan highlighting deficiencies of traditional disaster recovery means.

Traditional disaster recovery methods no longer meet the requirements of today’s healthcare system. A recent report revealed that 82% of healthcare IT executives do not believe they are prepared for a disaster.

A comprehensive approach to the recovery of critical applications as well as the rest of the infrastructure is required for healthcare organizations to not just survive an outage, but to also resume normal business operations in a more timely and efficient fashion. Welcome to the Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) era.

Assessing the Health of Your Current Disaster Recovery Plan

An important first step toward enhancing your disaster recovery plan is reviewing the plan currently in place. Consider the following key factors while assessing the strength of your plan:

  • Assess Your Current Capabilities

Is your organization ready for a contingency event right now? Businesses often plan for this but may not accurately measure their state-of-readiness. Recovery plans then fall short due to optimistic attitudes when systems are running smoothly and downtime is a rarity.In other cases, plans are developed under pressure for audit purposes and include outcomes that are impossible to deliver. Businesses must ensure the disaster recovery plan aligns with IT integrations and deployments and is incorporated into the change-control process to account for new applications and servers. These ever changing requirements are often overlooked as the IT landscape is constantly evolving, but disaster recovery preparedness is evaluated and potentially updated once or twice a year.

  • Evaluate Your DR Team

It is important to consider whether your team has the skills needed to successfully execute your disaster recovery plan. Every healthcare organization has knowledgeable IT resources, but recovery requires a very specific set of skills and training along with the ability to perform under pressure during an outage or disaster.

Natural disasters also displace people. You may not be able to guarantee the availability of your staff during a disaster if they are not able to travel or need to take care of family needs.

These factors lead many healthcare systems to consider cloud based disaster recovery services. Disaster recovery as a service providers have the specialized skills and experience to design and support disaster recovery plans that meet the needs of technology enabled healthcare. In the event of a natural disaster, your local team can focus on providing the highest quality patient care while the service provider team recovers data and resumes operations.

For more information on creating a managed disaster recovery plan, click here.