7 Tips to Build an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

We all hope for the best, but surprises come frequently. Being prepared in advance can save us a lot of trouble. The question is how to prepare for something that can harm our business and how to overcome the consequences? Having a DRP is one of the prerequisites for a successful business.

So, what is a DRP (a.k.a. Business Continuity plan)?

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) & Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) are set of procedures that describe each step an organization has to take in the event of a disaster and on its way to recovery. There are various Business Continuity Plan (BCP) & Disaster Recovery Plan Templates (DRP). Do you have one? If not sure of how to start making a plan, IT consultants and service providers are always there to lend a hand in difficult times, and the disaster is the one when we need those most. Why risk, when you can have a professional making a plan for you.

Here are some tips on how to build and effective Disaster Recovery Plan.

Why do you need DRP?

According to Ohio-based Nationwide Insurance survey (2015), 75% of small businesses do not have a DRP, even though they are the ones most affected by a disaster and 25% do not reopen. Do not rely on your hope for the best and end up being one of these 25%. The disasters, be they man-made or nature itself, cannot be controlled fully. Having a good plan on how to overcome the period after a disaster strikes can save your business.

Building a Disaster Recovery Plan

Having a plan is not good enough. Having an all-possible-case-scenario plan is the one you need. Here are 7 tips on how to build and effective DRP.

  • Time: when making your DRP, one of the first things to consider is how long it will take you to come back to work. It depends on the type of your business. Some companies can take a day or few, others only hours. The more it takes, the more you lose. The first step also includes priorities: what has to be recovered first, and what can wait.
  • Know the basics: what are the possible disasters that can occur? Think of all possible scenarios, the worst case of the worst cases included. Who are you going to contact first? Make a list of contact details. Include your partners; they can be affected by your disaster as well. Make a list and be as detailed as possible. In DRP, there is no place for gaps.
  • Stuff: not everyone can do everything. Let each individual know his/her duties during the time of a crisis. The more they’re focused on their tasks, the more work gets done, and the recovery process itself develops much faster. Stuff should be included in creating the plan, as well as all units that can be affected by your disaster.
  • Communication: include in your plan how you are going to communicate with the stuff during the period of a disaster. The phone lines may be down, no internet access, etc. Create channels your stuff can turn to and communicate further recovery actions.
  • Training: When you have your plan, make sure your employees and other stuff are well trained and prepared. Let them train communication once the channels for a disaster are set, let them know the priorities and their duties. In a case of emergency, panic strikes and people get stressed. The plan might go wrong just because one person is not well prepared.
  • Practice the plan: once you have your plan, practise it to check if there are any parts of it that do not function well, that need improvement. Check, step by step, each phase of your plan to detect possible failures. Work on and have them corrected. Keep on practicing until you are more than 100% sure it’s functional.
  • Update: if the plan shows no weak parts, everything seems to be perfect, do not relax and think ”that’s it.” As the worst case scenario can develop into a worse one, the same happens to the plan. Have it updated regularly. New knowledge and ideas can make the best plan even better.

”A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

~Proverbs 27:12 (New Living Translation)

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