Data is the lifeblood of every business, and that includes senior living communities. Your data includes all of the information you need to run your communities, including resident healthcare and other private information, internal databases, and all of your financial information. You might not give protecting your digital assets a second thought. But you should.  

IT disasters can come from many corners, both internal and external. Data can be corrupted, you could be targeted by hackers or disgruntled employees, or a power outage could take out all of your computers. Then there are natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, and windstorms. All of these events are unpredictable, which is why you need to do some IT disaster planning. 

IT disaster planning is essential for immediate response to prevent irreparable damage. Let’s take a look at what an IT disaster plan is and why you should have one. And because you’re an expert in running senior living communities, not IT disaster planning, how an IT consultant can help you create yours. 

The Elements of IT Disaster Planning & Why You Need It 

When disaster of any kind strikes, you want to recover as quickly as possible. In the event of a storm, fire, or earthquake, you likely have evacuation plans in place to protect your staff and your residents, so should you have one to protect your business assets.  

Why you need a plan 

“Be prepared” may be the Boy Scout motto, but it’s one you should adopt as your own. Ask yourself this: If the worst happens, how will my communities continue to operate? Let’s talk about what the worst consists of. 

• Complete loss of data 

Your company’s data is the foundation of your business. Data loss can happen, as we discussed, in a number of ways that include natural disasters, security breaches, and human error. Your company could experience these at any time, and the average cost of downtime nears $4,500 per minute. The loss of data triggers a domino effect and many businesses can’t recover. 

• Business interruption 

You really can’t run your business without your IT infrastructure, which means you are losing revenue with every minute that passes. Along with this, you are hurting your future ability to generate revenue. 

• Long-term productivity loss 

Let’s say you haven’t done any IT disaster recovery planning. You might be able to piece things together over time, but that could take years. And most of the institutional knowledge that improves productivity over time, including processes, are stored digitally. You may never reach the same level of productivity again. 

• Business failure 

A massive and wide-spread disruption in your IT infrastructure can bring your business to its knees. Prevention is not always possible. The risk to the livelihood of your business is real. This makes it imperative to develop a disaster recovery plan. The catastrophic impact a disaster can have in the absence of IT disaster planning should be top of mind for senior living executives. 

IT disaster planning–creating your plan 

Prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes, and this should be your main goal. But an IT disaster plan also includes the process of recovery should the worst happen. The first thing you must do is inventory all of your IT assets–computers, printers, servers, etc.  

In addition to your inventory, here’s a list of other steps you should take to craft your own IT disaster plan.  

  1. Log disruptions. This will help you identify patterns in any minor incidents that occur that could leave you vulnerable. Be sure to note the cause so you know where gaps exist. This could be an employee clicking on a link in a phishing email or a technology failure. Close the gaps. 
  1. Know the potential threats. Your disruption log should help you identify common threats. When it comes to human error, updating access permissions can help you minimize exposure. 
  1. Don’t forget about internal communications. Employees can be your first line of defense. A key part of your IT disaster planning relies on staff knowing what to look for and who to contact. Timely communication should be emphasized, as every wasted second could mean malware is spreading through your system. 
  1. How will you communicate with residents? They are sure to notice the buzz. Create statement templates that can be distributed to residents as a rapid response, and you’ll need to keep them updated. 
  1. How will you protect client and employee data? You should be backing up your data regularly, and in the era of ever-more-sophisticated hackers, it’s probably a good idea to do it daily. Make sure your data is encrypted. Backup to the cloud and possibly also to a server in a remote location.  
  1. Is anyone working remotely? If anyone takes a company laptop home with them (even the CEO) it presents another layer of risk. Access controls are again important here. 
  1. Review your insurance. If you need to file an insurance claim, you’ll need access to everything to all of the pertinent information. Prepare in advance. Keep multiple copies of your policy in different locations. It’s also important to understand the timeline of making a claim and getting a payout. This doesn’t usually happen quickly, so as you look at your IT disaster plan, realize that it might take a couple of months to receive reimbursement. 

The Right Plan Holds the Key to Your Recovery 

Disaster recovery plans are complex, and in this blog we’ve only really touched the surface. The right expertise is required to truly give senior living communities peace of mind that they will be able to continue business after disaster strikes. 

We all know it’s not if, but when. Make no mistake–hackers are just waiting for a minor crack to crawl through. Humans, no matter how smart or how much they try, make mistakes. Earthquakes can’t be predicted, that nice Spring shower can turn into a deluge, and you never know when an electrical short you can’t see will spark a major fire. 

It’s not worth risking the future of your business. At RSN Technologies, we’ve been helping senior living communities thrive through specialized IT services that include IT disaster planning, IT management, enterprise-grade voice and wireless, and technology project management.  

When it comes to IT disaster planning, we’ve probably seen every type of disaster during our more than 20 years serving senior living communities–and only senior living communities. We’ll help you craft a plan that works for you, and when  disaster strikes, we offer speedy service to get you back up and running fast. 

Let RSN make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. Reach out today