Disasters can cause significant business disruption, yet many business owners don’t plan for it. It is not only natural disasters that can pose a threat to a business – internal factors can also cause significant damage. Factors such as electrical hazards and faulty plumbing can negatively impact a business.
If a disaster does occur, your business may find it difficult to recover without a good disaster recovery plan.
If you decide to create a DR plan to protect your business from potential crashes, here are some suggestions on what to include in your plan.
1. Communication Plan
Communication is crucial for your business to recover in case of a disaster. You will need to communicate with your staff, customers and other key business contacts that are affected by the disaster.
The question of how and who to communicate with must be clearly laid out in your DR plan. The plan should include details to guide your business from the initial communication of the disaster to the end of recovery.
Because your business communication systems may be affected by the disaster, alternative communication methods should be included in your DR plan. This will keep everyone informed of the current state of your business.
2. Downtime and Data Loss Tolerance
Will your business suffer a great loss if it went offline for a few hours or a few days?
Business tolerance for downtime and data loss varies, so your DR plan must be tailored to your specific business environment.
Two important metrics for recovering from downtime are Recovery Time Objective (RPO) and Recovery Point Objective (RTO). These metrics define how quick and to what extent the recovery process should extend to in order to resume normal business operations.
Each of your business functions should be rated on how important they are to your business operations with the critical ones given a high priority.
3. Employee Recovery Team
To avoid confusion that may arise from disasters, assign responsibilities to your employees as part of a recovery team. Assigning clear roles to personnel will make the recovery process easier to follow.
Starting with the staff who declares a disaster, there should be no ambiguity as to the roles of each personnel. This helps to promote accountability.
It may also help to keep a centrally accessible list of staff along with emergency duties and contacts.
4. Recovery Site
Recovery site is an alternative location for your workers to converge when the primary business location is inaccessible. It is where your staff can work on the recovery and access organization resources.
Additionally, your DR plan should contain an easy map and secondary directions to guide your staff to the recovery site.
5. Supply Chain Management
For businesses involved in processing orders, a disaster can disrupt the order fulfilling process. Your DR plan should indicate how to handle such scenario. This may involve having alternate suppliers or contacting the current supplier to activate an emergency plan.
6. Solid Service Level Agreement (SLA)
If you outsourced your disaster recovery to an outside firm, it is important to specify what will be done in case of a disaster. Your agreement should include how fast a response is expected and what aspect of your business is covered by the recovery.
7. Business Security
After a disaster, your staff may need to access your central networks and business data from unsecured remote locations. This may pose unique security challenges in terms of how to handle sensitive information and privileged access. A thorough DR plan will give clear directions on what your personnel is to do to minimize security risks.
8. Access Your Business Risks
Your business type determines the risks you face. Your industry and its geographical location will contribute to the risks posed by disasters. Your hardware, software and other business technologies will bring a different risk dimension in terms of a disaster. All your business assets must be carefully inventoried and their risks determined. The result should indicate the direction your DR plan will take.
You can’t prepare for all disasters but careful DR planning which incorporates the above items will increase the chance of survival for your business. It will also help your company bounce back quickly from an unexpected catastrophe. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about what to include in a disaster recovery plan for your business.