What would spell disaster for your business? A powerful storm that takes out a large percentage of your equipment? A fire or flood that renders your facility unusable? Or would the larger disaster being wholly unprepared for a disaster and not having a plan for recovery in place?
You may never need to use your disaster recovery plan, but that’s no excuse for not having one. A disaster recovery plan is insurance against extended downtime, loss of data, and ultimately the loss of your business. Preparing for disaster by having a plan can help your business get back on its feet more quickly.
So where do I start a Disaster Recovery Plan?
The physical nature of your equipment and the protection of your facility will have some bearing on how you construct your disaster recovery plan.
- Prioritize areas of importance
Depending on your business, you’ll want to rank areas of your operation on the basis of importance. If physically securing your building or equipment should take priority, then make sure that’s listed on your priority list. Who needs to be up and running first? Customer service? Payroll? Answering these questions will help you to determine where to begin and in what order service and equipment should be restored.
- Set expectations
Establish a priority list for downtime. There will likely be some areas of your business that cannot tolerate any downtime whatsoever, and you should establish a system that addresses these areas. Other portions of your business may be able to tolerate a delay before coming back online. By prioritizing segments of your organization based on their relevance to your operation, you can establish procedures and policies that assure their needs are met first.
- Prepare for insurance claims
Depending on your insurance policy, there may be certain documentation that you must perform to initiate a claim on damaged equipment. Making this part of your recovery plan will help speed things along toward replacement. Take the time beforehand to determine what your procedure needs to be, and put this into your plan.
- Establish order for recovery
Everything you have done up to this point to build a recovery plan will help you to establish the order in which systems and departments are restored. Procedures for recovery may be dependent upon reestablishing software licenses and master passwords, and your plan should include software license keys, administrative passwords, backup locations, warranty information, and temporary sites that will be in use. Having all of this information in one document will make the recovery process run more smoothly, and will help the prioritized areas to receive assistance first.
Of course, the areas outlined above are among the most basic when considering a disaster recovery plan. Depending on the size and complexity of your company operations, you may need to consider a more detailed plan. Your IT vendor can help you to assess the depth needed for a company-specific plan, and will work with you to establish this plan so that in the event of a disaster, you can get back to business quickly and completely.