One benefit of cloud hosting services and data centers is the ease with which data can be protected during a disaster. A disaster recovery plan should always include redundancies for data and tech functionality, and when data is housed off-site and can be accessed from any location, DRP is faster and less costly for businesses.
In addition to housing data in a safe, secure, and accessible environment, every business should have a documented disaster recovery plan. According to TechRepublic, businesses should review their plans regularly to ensure all business and consumer needs are addressed. AFCOM recommends that data recovery plan documents be stored in both electronic and hard copy form; consider providing essential leadership with hard copies of the plan to be stored outside of the office in case fire or another natural disaster destroys all or part of the building.
10 Items to Include in Disaster Recovery Plans
Some top considerations in any disaster recovery plan include alleviating customer worry, protecting data, and restoring technical functionality as soon as possible. Ultimately, a DRP should be about restoring essential functions first to care for employees and customers, and then restoring full business functionality as quickly as possible to protect profits. Every business is different, so DRP documents should be unique, but there are certain top items to include in any plan.
- Include a list of all mission-critical employees, along with job functions that must be covered in a disaster recovery scenario. The list should include multiple points of contact so critical employees can be brought together as early as possible following a disaster.
- Any plan should name a coordinator for disaster recovery as well as several backups if the coordinator is not able to be contacted or able to perform. Consider naming coordinators for all essential departments and creating a disaster-based reporting structure to drive efficiency.
- Create a priority list for restoration of functions and departments. You can’t bring everything online immediately, so prioritize in an order that makes sense for customers and processes. For example, bringing up phones or customer communications may be essential to provide answers to worried clients, but without data recovery, you can’t do much of anything else.
- Create a list of essential equipment—the minimal computers, equipment, and supplies required for each phase of disaster recovery—and a plan for getting that equipment if all of your current inventory is destroyed.
- Select one off-site location for recovery efforts and at least one back up location.
- Create a plan for transferring critical employees to offsite DRP locations—in some cases, you may need to include employees’ families in the plan. Many experts say that transferring employees without the option to bring immediate family along in a post-disaster situation reduces productivity and effectiveness.
- Create a financial plan for recovery efforts. DRP could require a substantial and sudden cash spend; understanding those expenses up front lets you save for a rainy day.
- Include a communication plan for updating employees on the disaster recovery situation and rolling employees into the plan as necessary. Communication plans should be published on a regular basis so employees are aware of who will contact them if the need arises and they can update contact information appropriately.
- Any disaster recovery plan should include an inventory of all company assets, both digital and physical. Understanding where data resources are housed and what they are ensures data recovery is as complete as possible.
- DRP documents should also include a schedule for updating the plan. Include a short review for minor elements such as employee contact information and disaster recovery leadership several times a year. At least once a year, a disaster recovery team should review the entire document for accuracy and scale.
Housing data in a safe and secure environment such as a data center can help alleviate some of the worry when a disaster happens, but having a plan before an emergency happens is always best. Be sure to think about these 10 tips when you are creating a disaster recovery plan to protect your business, employees and customers.