7 Critical Aspects of a Disaster Recovery Plan
Are you ready for the types of disasters businesses like yours face today? Find out the 7 key elements the modern disaster recovery plan should have today.
A disaster recovery plan is a single written plan that outlines how you’ll get things back to pre-disaster condition in a given timeframe while reducing the many costs associated with loss of business operations. But, as with so many elements of business, in order to develop an effective disaster recovery plan, you need to break things down into their various components. Only then can you take a close look at each critical area.
To achieve that, these 7 critical aspects of disaster recovery shouldn’t be ignored.
A Communications and Roles Plan
Your disaster recovery plan should outline a chain of communication with updated contact information via multiple methods. It should include a leader’s role as well as the responsibility each person is taking on in the disaster recovery plan. Design this aspect of your disaster recovery plan collaboratively to ensure that you have everything covered and the right people assigned to each task.
Disaster: Day 1 isn’t the time you want to discover holes in your plan.
An Equipment and Local Plan
Your building is sitting in 10-feet of water. What shape will the equipment be in?
If you know a storm is coming like a major flood warning or hurricane, get that technology off the floor on the first floor and/or away from windows. Plan for how this happens to get it done.
Additionally, part of your equipment plan is ensuring that you have enough laptops, phones, etc. for critical employees who need to continue business operations immediately after the disaster, once their own safety is secured.
Finally, where will employs work? Home? A satellite office? Plan ahead because when you do so you have more options and can save a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
After Joplin, Missouri tornados wiped out much of the city, a small business made arrangements with a church of which the owner was a member. They were able to continue critical operations from the building at little added cost.
A Data Continuity Plan
Employees need data to continue business operations. Even though some departments can switch to paper forms when data access is limited, they can’t make informed decisions or properly care for customers or accounts. Your plan should include how you maintain their access to data in the event of a physical (e.g., hurricane) or virtual (e.g., ransomware) disaster. This involves solutions like data backups and remote access to backup servers.
Checking Backup Systems
Backup is so important to data continuity that it deserves its own section. Check and double-check and re-check those backups to make sure they’re working. Know how quickly you can recover data or restore access. As a general rule, your backup should always be off-site, in another city that’s not likely to be hit by the same disaster. So if one or the other is hit, you never lose your data. Many large businesses back data up in multiple sites using highly-secure cloud storage solutions.
Not having a proper backup system can cost you. Recently, the city of Atlanta spent $2.6 million dollars to respond to, and recover from, a ransomware attack that demanded over $50,000 for the release of the city data they held hostage. Because they lacked proper backup, they had to deploy emergency efforts and do damage control in the aftermath instead of executing a more cost-effective data recovery plan.
Written Asset Inventory
The days after a physical disaster are hectic. You may experience looting or have to hire a cleanup crew to dump destroyed equipment. It’s nearly impossible to get an accurate inventory in those conditions. Yet, you’ll need it for insurance claims and recovery. So plan ahead. Create a written inventory of servers, workstations, furniture, printers, telephones and other equipment with any significant value. Create a spreadsheet that is regularly updated as equipment enters or leaves service.
Take pictures of everything. If an insurance company challenges your claims, you need this added proof. You don’t have to take individual pictures, but walk around each work area, taking multiple pictures. Visually catalog the magnitude of furniture and equipment in each space.
Vendor, Customer and Services Communications
Be prepared to communicate with vendors, customers, service providers and other partners regarding your recovery efforts. If you do have to shut down for a few days, customers may go elsewhere because they don’t realize you’re open. Vendors and service providers need to know when to restore power or reschedule deliveries.
How you handle communications may be unique to your business. After Hurricane Harvey, one Houston-area business used targeted Facebook ads to keep customers informed regarding their reopen date. Outlining what types of communications are necessary and how they will take place will help you recover faster.
Ensuring that each of these elements is in your disaster recovery plan will help you reduce damages and restore operations more effectively.
Jorge Rojas | Published on August 30th, 2019