In today’s day and age, a hotel is almost completely reliant on technology. Even a short period of downtime can have a huge effect on the business. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Of course, the actual number will depend on the size of your company and the seriousness of the disaster, but nevertheless, downtime is something you want to avoid at all costs. However, disasters do happen, no matter how hard we try to prevent them. Whether it’s a natural disaster such as fire or flood, or a cyber-attack or virus, when disaster strikes, it is imperative that you have an effective disaster recovery plan to get your business up and running as soon as possible. For this reason, it is important to include a business continuity plan into your DR plan to ensure that critical business operations continue whilst the disaster is being addressed. Here are the steps you should take to effectively plan for disaster recovery.
The first step is to do an initial risk assessment and analyse the potential threats. For example, do you have environmental monitoring for your hardware to help prevent overheating, water damage or power surges? Do you have adequate security against cyber-attacks, ransomware, malware and other viruses? You should also factor in that different types of disaster will require different steps to resolve and that some may require a lot more time to fix. Classifying and prioritising what is most critical and least critical to be recovered helps to give a point of focus. For example, if both phones and email are down, which should be recovered first?
Once you have identified the risks, you need to run a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) to scrutinise how a disaster would affect your business. You should define your tolerance or downtime. A hotel will have a far smaller tolerance for downtime than, say a plumber. From this, you can identify your recovery metrics. Your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) defines how long an operation can be offline for without major business impact. Your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) defines the point in time to which the operation should be recovered. Identifying these metrics helps your IT support understand the objectives they are working towards.
Taking an inventory of your hardware will help speed up the process of recovery; diagnosing the problem is easier if it is known what you have and where it is. This will include server rooms, data centres and anywhere where IT equipment is stored. These should be noted together with points of contact – for example, your IT support company or a third party.
Each member of your staff should be trained for what to do in case of disaster. Staff should be aware who to inform, whether it’s their supervisor or even going directly to IT support. There should also be a clear line of communication: the last thing your IT support needs is five different people calling them from the same company to tell them that the WiFi’s down. Additionally, there should be a clear internal communication plan. If the phone and email is down, staff should know what the communication plan is to ensure as little confusion and disruption as possible.
Perhaps the most important component in DR planning is ensuring that your IT support company’s SLA includes all aspects of disaster recovery. You don’t want to find out that your contract doesn’t cover server damage after your server room has flooded. Make sure that the level of service provided is clearly defined and that you know how to contact them in case of disaster.
Finally, it is important to test your DR plan regularly. This will help iron out any issues such as backup hardware failure, changing supply chain and new staff. It will also help you remain in compliance with laws and regulations such as GDPR – you will know where your data is and where it is backed up and you will be able to recover it quicker in the event of cyber-attack.
Having a disaster recovery plan is crucial to your hotel. It will ensure that any downtime is minimised when disaster strikes. You can’t control what happens to your technology, but you can control your response. If you are concerned about disaster recovery, and how it could affect your business, call us on +44 203 034 2244 or +1 323 984 8908 Alternately, you can contact us online. We will be happy to help you overcome your hotel IT challenges so that you can improve your guest experience and set your hotel apart.
Cardonet have been working with hotels for the past twenty years to help them overcome their technological challenges. We have engineering bases in the United Kingdom, Europe and Southern California and our group of highly experienced engineers are available 24/7 to assist and ensure that your hotel’s IT infrastructure is running seamlessly.