Creating a disaster recovery plan is easy to put off. It’s something you should do, but not as crucial as that urgent client matter that you were supposed to finish yesterday.
But all businesses need to create a disaster recovery plan to protect their business. (Just look at the devastating effects of the recent California wildfires.)
Disaster recovery plans prevent downtime lapses, recover business functionality quickly and avoid significant revenue or customer losses in the event of a disruption or emergency.
To start, we’ll define what a disaster recovery plan is, how it differs from a business continuity plan and how to create one for your business.
There are several different components to a disaster recovery plan.
Many people confuse the business continuity and disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan is part of the business continuity plan. It’s focused on reinstating your IT infrastructure and restoring daily operations immediately after a disaster.
A business continuity plan looks at the bigger picture beyond IT. It outlines the steps to keep your business up and running in the event of an emergency, including assets, human resources and business processes.
Here’s how to create a disaster recovery plan for your IT environment.
A business impact analysis examines the entire organization to determine the repercussions of business disruptions.
Look at the operational and financial impacts that could occur in the event of a significant interruption in the day-to-day business. How would downtime affect sales, customers and future business plans? Talk to your managers and employees who have a deep understanding of the business to determine what needs to be prioritized (Ready.gov has a questionnaire to help).
Using information from the business impact analysis, assess the IT resources required to keep the necessary functions of the business running.
What are the top priorities and recovery time objectives? Are there any gaps you need to fill? Decide how you’ll address these gaps. Your technology recovery strategy should include how to restore applications, data and hardware in time to meet your business needs and minimize impact.
Once you’ve defined your disaster recovery plan, you need to document it so your employees and IT team can carry it out. Make sure your IT team is clear on the objectives, needs and workloads.
Create a list of all hardware, including computers, servers, necessary software applications and data. Document all processes required to ensure that data is backed up, your team has the resources to restore any damaged systems and are clear on the objectives.
Every plan looks great on paper. Don’t let this fool you into a false sense of security.
It’s not enough to have a disaster recovery plan — you need to test it. Business needs change constantly. You need to test it on a regular basis to ensure it will protect your business and data in an emergency.
Want help with your disaster recovery plan? Give us a call today.