Electrical fires, burst water pipes and failed HVAC systems are just a few of the disasters that can strike a business. When a disaster occurs, it is critical to know how to write a disaster recovery plan to minimize damages and enable a quick recovery. Writing a disaster recovery plan involves a series of essential steps that allow organizations to continue operations while protecting the business infrastructure.
Steps For Writing A Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster recovery plan is an important component of every Business Continuity Plan (BCP). The plan should include a comprehensive set of procedures designed to reduce downtime and prevent major financial losses. The basic steps involved in writing a disaster recovery plan include the following:
Take Inventory Of Hardware, Software, Apps & Data
Begin a disaster recovery plan with an inventory of all IT assets, including hardware, software applications, and data. Be sure to include IT management assets, such as applications, storage devices, servers, access points, network switches, and network appliances. Include where each of these assets is physically located, note any dependencies each may have, and write which network each asset is located on to avoid confusion if a disaster does occur.
Perform A Risk Assessment
Risk assessment is the process of identifying potential hazards and analyzing the possibilities of what could occur if a hazard does happen. Go through each asset on the list and determine possible internal and external threats relating to each asset. Threats can range from IT malfunctions to natural disasters. Also include the probability of each event occurring and note the severity of the impact the disaster would likely have on the business if it were to occur.
Classification Of Data & Applications
The next step involved in writing a disaster recovery plan involves the classification of data and applications based on their criticality. It can be helpful to gather department heads and employees to determine the importance of each application and where they rank in terms of criticality. The number of data classes will need to be limited so it is important to choose wisely. For example, a medium-sized business will likely be limited to three to five data classes.
Define Class Recovery Objectives
There will be different recovery objectives for each data class. Always consult business line managers in the process to ensure that the business is able to appropriately respond to all types of disasters. Ask important questions, such as what applications each department uses, their tolerance for downtime, and whether or not there are times when certain applications are not used by employees, customers, or partners.
Selection Of Tools & Techniques
The next step in the disaster recovery plan development process involves the selection of tools and techniques used in recovery. Modern businesses are not limited when it comes to disaster recovery tools and techniques so it is better to overprotect a business than to not have proper protection. Tools and techniques will be different for each business. For example, many businesses will use offsite protection as a component of their backup recovery plan.
Documenting & Communicating The Plan
One of the most important components of a disaster recovery plan is the documented strategy that outlines exactly how the business will return to a working state. When writing the plan, ensure that the language used is easy to understand by the people that will use the plan in the event of a disaster. It is also important for businesses to communicate the plan to the organization as a whole in case certain key people are not available during a disaster.
Test The Plan
Once a plan has been documented and communicated within a business, it should be tested. Disaster plans are never perfect the first time around and may need adjustments on a regular basis based on changes within the workplace. Practicing the disaster recovery plan will help pinpoint problems within the plan so that they can be modified before an actual disaster takes place.
Evaluate The Test & Adjust
Disaster recovery plans should be reviewed on a regular basis to meet the demands of an ever-changing business environment. Business leaders may find that there is a reduced tolerance for data loss or downtime that must be accounted for within the plan. If a business upgrades its operating system or hardware, these upgrades should also be implemented into the disaster recovery plan.
Reach Out To A Professional Managed IT Services Provider
Businesses rely on information technology to quickly and efficiently process information. When a disaster occurs that disrupts business processes, downtime can occur that results in lost income and possibly lost customers. For more information about disaster recovery plans or to acquire modernized data backup and disaster recovery solutions, reach out to the professional managed IT service experts at TCB Inc.