When disaster strikes, every minute counts. You need to know who is responsible for what, where your essential documents are stored, and a plan of action that won’t leave you spending days trying to figure out what needs to happen first.
In other words, you need a disaster recovery plan. A comprehensive business continuity plan will help you and your employees respond quickly in case of an emergency, as well as minimise the potential damage of the event.
Disaster recovery planning for professional services is an essential component of business. Failure to plan could mean significant losses due to downtime, equipment loss, or human error. According to a recent study, 95% of business leaders believe their crisis management capabilities need improvement. It’s far better to take the time to plan now, rather than be unprepared in the event of an unexpected disaster.
What is a disaster recovery plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is an essential part of business continuity planning. It is a written document outlining the steps everyone at your company should follow in the event of an emergency, whether it’s a natural disaster or a data breach. The DRP covers all aspects of disaster recovery, including:
- the identification of essential data
- IT systems
- backup plans and copies of essential data
- a comprehensive testing and training program
The main goal of a disaster recovery plan is to ensure that your business can continue to operate in the event of a disaster. This includes everything from ensuring that you have replacement equipment and supplies, to ensuring that your employees are prepared and trained to deal with an emergency situation.
With an effective DRP, you can recover from any kind of disruption and get back to normal operations as quickly as possible.
Creating a disaster recovery plan
The first step is to identify what type of risks your business faces. Next, you should identify the different types of backup options available to you, including data backups and offsite storage. Map out your timelines for each step in the process, including when you will conduct tests, initiate new operations and recover from an incident. Finally, you must evaluate your risk tolerance and determine whether you can afford to go through with a full recovery, even if it means incurring some downtime.
A DRP should include:
- Identifying the importance of each item being kept safe and protected, including details like location, storage space requirements and insurance coverage.
- An outline of how communication will be maintained if the primary office building is destroyed or if there are damaged lines between offices or locations.
- How backups will work and when they need to be taken in order to restore services as quickly as possible in the case of a disaster.
- Which employees should take responsibility for which tasks while the primary office location is being repaired or rebuilt in the case of an emergency.
Assessing your risks
Disaster recovery planning is all about assessing your risk and developing a plan to minimise the damage. The first step is to conduct a risk assessment. This can be conducted by a professional IT service provider. Once you have completed the assessment, you can begin to develop your plan.
Not all risks are created equal; some are more significant than others, so prioritise your actions accordingly. Another way to assess risk is by identifying and prioritising your assets, and planning for who would be responsible for each one in the event of a disaster. This can include determining the location of critical data and information, such as customer records or financial records.
Establish roles and responsibilities
Create a clear structure of your DRP, and define roles and responsibilities for each team member. This will ensure that everyone knows what they need to do and who they should speak to. Regular meetings will allow your team to discuss any issues or changes that may be needed.
Your DRP should explain how the team will keep track of progress, communicate with other teams, and report back to your organisation. By clearly outlining roles and responsibilities, you’ll make it easier for everyone to know their part in the recovery process.
Set your recovery goals
Your DRP should include details on how long it will take for you to return to normal operations, and what resources you will need in order to do so. By setting goals in advance and keeping them realistic, you can ensure that your recovery process goes smoothly.
Test the plan regularly
One of the most effective ways to ensure your company’s survival during a crisis is by regularly testing your DRP. This can be done by simulating an emergency and running through a checklist of actions that should be taken in the event of a disaster.
It’s also important to test your DRP regularly, as the nature of business can change over time and you may need to make adjustments.
Don’t get left behind when disaster strikes
A disaster recovery plan is a crucial component of business continuity planning. By setting goals in advance and keeping them realistic, you can ensure that your recovery process goes smoothly.
The disaster recovery specialists at Itopia can create a DRP tailored to your unique business needs and risks. Talk to them today and be prepared.