How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan in 7 Steps

Did you know that over 60,000 fatalities each year are from natural disasters?

Regardless of your location, disasters can strike at any time. Without proper planning, you’re likely to have no means of recovering afterward. That means starting from the ground up, which might not be financially possible.

Don’t give up yet.

With this guide, you’ll learn all about disaster recovery. That way, your hard work won’t go to waste. Read on and find out more:

1. Get a Written Plan

This seems simple, but thinking through everything in advance can change whether your business thrives after natural disasters. After all, this determines the rate of your recovery.

At the minimum, your plan must contain details about the most important data and systems. It must include steps on how to secure and back up these systems.

That’s why it’s necessary to have a professional IT team to manage your disaster recovery plan.

But if that isn’t possible, get an inventory of all your IT-related assets both hardware and software. Get a list of your cloud applications and the stored data within, along with its access credentials.

Store the steps on how your third-party cloud applications back up these data to your location. That way, you won’t lose it in case your physical location closes or you get hacked. These include information related to your websites, member portals, accounting systems, and more.

Take note, you have more things to document. But these are the barest essentials if you want to prepare for the worst. Check out the linked IT Support provider to get more details.

2. When Writing the Plan, Think of Business Continuity

Only about 50% of businesses pass the five-year mark. That’s why you can’t afford to make mistakes. The biggest one is assuming that your data backup allows you to get back in business rapidly.

The truth is that business continuity is all about planning and putting systems in place. It takes 5-7 days on average to get their operations back online. It’s because they only retained a copy of their company data.

That’s why you must plan ways to keep crucial operations functional. It means your email service won’t go down for extended durations.

3. Get a Risk Assessment

After doing an inventory of your IT assets, list the internal and external threats for each. Always assume the worst-case scenario and make a thorough plan. It’s especially important when it involves natural disasters.

After that, make calculations on how likely the event can occur. Assess how your business gets impacted if it happens. Think about its effects on business continuity.

A good way to make this easier is to enlist your employees’ aid. Emphasize the fact that mundane IT problems occur more frequently compared to natural disasters. Regardless, never dismiss the worst and get everyone to work together.

4. Define Your Recovery Objectives

Various classes have different objectives for recovery. For example, your eCommerce database is critical, hence the aggressive recovery objectives. It’s because your business can’t afford to go down for long since you’ll lose transactions.

On the other side of the spectrum, legacy internal systems have less demanding recovery objectives. That’s why they’re not as important when using disaster recovery services.

Here, you must think about your recovery time objective (RTO). This is the acceptable period for your data and production systems to be down. Calculate it by considering the revenue your company loses if a particular part of your business goes down for a certain period.

For example, consider the amount of money you’ll lose if your eCommerce website goes down for an hour or a day. Think about the incurred costs when no employees can work because your email service is unavailable. That’s why your RTO calculations are important to determine the systems you must prioritize.

5. Pick the Right Techniques and Tools

With everything done, you must pick the right tools and techniques to use for your disaster recovery plan. The market offers lots of solutions, so the choice depends on the level of protection you want. Over-protection costs your company unnecessary funds and complexity.

On the other hand, under-protection exposes your company’s continuity at risk. Regardless, your plan must include plans for offsite protection. Use this no matter what data backup method you prefer.

Ensure that your data storage is in a location far enough from geographic risk zones. As a finishing touch, automating and streamlining your recovery process is your next priority. That way, you won’t risk human error.

6. Test and Practice Your Plan

Practice makes progress, so do it often to find and correct problems in your plan. At the same time, it allows you to do it faster and with more accuracy. All employees must play a role, meaning they must attend regular practice sessions.

You need not practice the entire plan each time. It’s always acceptable to test pieces of your plan every session. No matter what, communicate your plans with everyone.

If you’re the only person within the company who knows the entire plan, you leave it vulnerable when you aren’t available. Your strategy’s documentation must be accessible during a disaster. Not on the public share, but printed and posted in various office locations.

7. Evaluate and Update Your Plan

Your disaster recovery plan should evolve. Review your plan regularly, accommodating it depending on the constantly changing business climate. As you progress, your tolerance for downtime and loss of data decreases.

That way, you can adjust your business as key employees go on leave or get terminated. Sometimes, you must migrate your IT system to new hardware. The bottom line is that the plan reflects your company’s current state.

Prioritize Disaster Recovery Today

These are the necessary steps to plan your disaster recovery procedures. Use these tips to ensure your business stays afloat, regardless of anything. To make the most out of these, work with your in-house IT department or hire a third-party company.

Did you find this guide helpful? If so, we encourage you to read our other posts and learn more important tips and tricks.