Disaster Recovery for the Dental Practice Part I

Are you ready for a disaster? Would you be able to bring your dental practice back following a local or regional disaster? Most dental practices (and small businesses in general) are woefully unprepared as the following statistics highlight:

  • Gartner estimates that only 35 percent of SMBs have any comprehensive disaster recovery plan.
  • Touche Ross estimates, the survival rate for organizations without a disaster recovery plan is < 10%
  • Evolutionary IT surveyed over 50 (non customer) offices and found a mere 20% had any disaster recovery plan as of 2011.

In this the first part of my 3 part discussion on disaster recovery for the dental practice I will discuss a few misunderstandings that many dentists and dental practice managers hold regarding disaster recovery.

Local Backup Is Enough

The assumption that local backup will keep you safe is incorrect. Local backup only helps you if have a local system problem or hardware problem. If any other type of local disaster such as storm, fire, smoke damage your machine you will lose your external storage, backup drive, etc. It is imperative to have some form of off site backup (replication, virtualization, or cloud solution) as well as onsite backup.

Recovering From A Disaster Doesn’t Require a Plan

Creating a plan in the case of disaster helps mitigate your risks, improve recovery times and lessen the possibility of data loss. It allows you the piece of mind in knowing you thought out the steps to returning to normal business operations. Without taking the time to do this you have know idea what you need to accomplish recovery, how long it will take and or the process details. A written plan will give you all the required detailed and make everything known quantities. A plan is a dynamic evolving process as your environment changes.

Disaster Recovery Doesn’t Need Testing

Most practices with an unseasoned “IT Guy” have backups set up automatically that run on a scheduled unmanaged/unmonitored basis. They don’t monitor backups, don’t test the validity of these backups and or test restoring the data. Without planning and testing you can’t validate your results. Most “IT guys” haven’t done a full recovery test and therefore won’t be able to bring you practice back online in a timely or cost efficient manner. It is imperative that you work with a provider that not only has a plan but updates, maintains and tests it on a consistent basis.

We must have a plan or we should plan to fail. Disaster recovery is an ongoing effort of both technology and process. What steps do you plan to take to be prepared? Want to learn more best practices for DR planning for your dental practice? See Disaster Recovery for Your Dental Practice Part II.

Joseph P. Guarino has a long history of producing business results with the application of information technology. Joseph's expertise span over 15 years in the private sector at leading technology firms and consulting organization. With Evolutionary IT, he saw a market need to bring his transformative knowledge and expertise to firms in the New England area and worldwide. Joseph is driven by a strong desire to see customer's thrive with the best business solutions. Evolutionary IT evolved out of this desire to bring a new level of quality IT solutions, align them with business goals and give customer's a competitive edge.
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