When a business experiences any type of unexpected disaster, they risk losing money and customers. Depending on how the business handles the disaster, they could even suffer reputational damage. A disaster recovery plan is a documented process that aims to help organizations recover faster after a catastrophe. Disaster recovery plans should address all types of disasters, be easy to follow and be customized to meet the unique needs of the business.
What Makes A Good Disaster Recovery Plan?
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to overlook the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity. Just because an organization has yet to face a business interruption does not mean that they will not experience one in the future. In fact, 17% of businesses experienced some type of business interruption in the past due to floods and 12% because of hurricanes.
A good disaster recovery plan should include a practical strategy that ensures that all vital business data is backed up. It should also identify critical software applications and the hardware required to run these applications. Disaster recovery plans often include job responsibilities to ensure that there is no confusion during the recovery process.
Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist Items
Most disasters arrive with little to no warning. This leaves businesses with minimal time to react to potential damages. A disaster recovery plan can help organizations approach sudden catastrophes with professionalism and restore their processes faster after a disaster. Each type of disaster comes with its own set of consequences for the people, processes, and systems involved in business operations. Follow this checklist to ensure that all aspects of business recovery are covered.
Conduct A Risk Assessment
A risk analysis is a technique used by businesses to identify and manage potential problems that could negatively impact key business initiatives or projects. By conducting a risk analysis as part of a disaster recovery plan strategy, organizations can better determine which disaster recovery mechanisms will be most effective during an actual disaster. A risk analysis should list potential threats and hazards, their probability of occurrence and the potential impact of the disaster on the business.
Determine Recovery Time Objectives
Recovery time objective (RTO) refers to the duration of time an application is able to remain down before resulting in significant damage to the business. Most businesses cannot survive long without key IT infrastructure and services. Therefore, RTOs must be properly aligned with what is possible by the business’s IT department. Ideally, businesses want to achieve a near-zero RTO as any amount of downtime can be very costly for an enterprise.
Detailed Procedures For Response Strategy
Disaster recovery plans must be detailed and concise to prevent mishaps during the business recovery process. A recovery plan should clearly outline the expectations of all team members, including where they should go when a disaster occurs. Procedures should be prioritized based on importance to allow the most crucial operations to recover first before moving on to less critical processes. A disaster recovery plan should include written guidelines and procedures and should cover everything from infrastructure monitoring and communications to recovery activities and DR solutions.
Determine Emergency Communication Channels
When an emergency occurs, regular channels of communication may not be readily available. It is important for businesses to have emergency protocols in place in terms of communication. A disaster recovery plan should cover what communication channels will be available for use among employees, management and the disaster recovery team. It should also include specifics like who is responsible for announcing the disaster and communicating with customers, employees and the media.
Appoint An Incident Response Team
Every organization should have a strong incident response team made up of reliable individuals with strong leadership and communication skills. These individuals will be responsible for carrying out the disaster recovery plan and ensuring that all tasks are completed as efficiently as possible. The recovery plan should list the job roles of each person involved, what actions need to be completed, the contact details of all team members and the timeframe in which the activities should be completed.
Determine Disaster Recovery Sites
If a business location suffers extensive damage during a disaster, all equipment, systems and data could be destroyed or compromised. For this reason, many businesses choose to set up one or more recovery sites that allow business operations to continue even if a primary business location experiences damage. A disaster recovery site should efficiently support active communications and have the ability to store all vital applications, data and physical assets. There are three main types of sites used for disaster recovery, including hot sites, warm sites and cold sites.
Speak To A Disaster Recovery Plan Expert At SeaGlass Technology
Business disasters are more common than most people think. According to DataCore, 54 percent of companies have experienced prolonged downtime in the past five years that lasted a full workday. To minimize downtime and prevent costly losses, consider developing a disaster recovery plan. For more information or assistance in disaster recovery planning, call us at (212) 886-0790 or contact us online to get started today.