As part of a business continuity plan, a disaster recovery plan is critical to the health of your business. But it’s not enough to merely have a disaster recovery plan – you also need a disaster recovery checklist to make sure that plan is implemented.
Some data disasters you can see coming from a mile away. You know that a line of strong storms can wreak havoc for everyone in their path. But other data disasters can happen without warning. A server goes down, and suddenly your business is experiencing downtime. A disaster recovery plan is your path back to productivity, no matter what form the disaster takes.
Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
First things first: developing a disaster recovery plan should be part of your preparations for the continuity of your business in the face of disaster.
You can’t recover from a disaster if you don’t have a plan. Preparing your business for the eventuality of a disaster (yes, you can bank on it) is critical if you want to survive and thrive in the long term.
You’ll find a lot of advice online about disaster recovery (DR) plans, but not a lot of precise information about what should be in a plan. That’s because each DR plan is specific to the business it serves, and while some aspects are universal, much of it depends on your business structure.
Two important factors in a disaster recovery plan are the cost of downtime and how much downtime your business can tolerate. These two considerations will guide you in developing a plan that best serves your business.
It’s not enough to just have a plan – you must test it regularly. Testing will tell you where there is room for improvement or what might be missing as your business changes and grows. The midst of a disaster is no time to learn that something in your plan doesn’t work.
Your Disaster Recovery Checklist
A disaster recovery checklist outlines the steps you need to take to get back to business. An objective look at your business’ IT needs will help you to determine the elements of your DR plan.
Prepare for the day that you will need to put your plan into action. Use this disaster recovery checklist to get you through the crisis.
1.What’s the problem and how is it impacting your business?
Is the disaster limited to one machine, or is it business-wide? Are you dealing with corrupted or deleted files? Are there servers, workstations, or network equipment down? Is the disaster affecting the physical location of your business?
2. What are your recovery goals?
Determine if you need to restore the data, your system, or both. Will you need to recover files and folders before you can recover your system? What systems are critical and in what order should you undertake recovery tasks? Is there a point from which you should restore? How much time do you have to recover?
3. What recovery procedure should you use?
Keeping the end goal in mind, decide what needs to be done to recover – a file restore, local virtualization, or off-site virtualization.
4. Verify and confirm.
Once recovery has taken place, test your network connectivity and assess functionality for all users. Can they access the resources and applications they need to be productive?
5. Restore original systems.
If necessary, restore the original system, either by a bare metal restore or a virtual machine restore.
6. Follow-up assessment.
Once the dust has settled on your crisis, examine the response of your plan. What caused the problem? Did your team respond as they should have? Are there issues that still need to be addressed? Are there areas that need improvement?
Keep Your Checklist Handy
As part of your disaster recovery plan, a disaster recovery checklist creates an orderly process for handling a data disaster. It assures that no detail is forgotten in the process of recovery. Without it, the next disaster (and there will be a “next disaster”) might be the one that severely damages your business.
If your business isn’t prepared for the inevitable mishaps that limit your productivity, talk to us about disaster recovery and business continuity. We can help you develop a business continuity plan the includes a disaster recovery plan. That way, when you need it – and you will – you’ll be able to get back up and running with minimal downtime. Want to know more? Contact us!
You don’t have to create a checklist from scratch – you can use ours! Download The Ultimate Disaster Recovery Checklist below and keep it handy for when disaster strikes.