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How Do You Write a Disaster Recovery Plan?

2 minute read
Every organisation should have a disaster recovery plan. Creating one will force you to think ahead about what could happen in the event of a disaster. Your disaster (DR) plan doesn't have to be extensive and for most small businesses, a few pages should do it. It will outline the steps you need to take when a disaster occurs to minimise any data loss, financial loss, or downtime for your business.
By, Jonathan Mack

What is a disaster?

Any unforeseen circumstance that substantially impairs your company's operations can be considered a disaster. Some examples include:

  • Your online accounting platform is offline and the service provider has no estimated timeframe for when it will be back and operational.
  • You have a fire or a flood in your main office.
  • Your servers are being housed in a data centre that experiences a major outage.

While none of these situations is extremely likely, they could have a significant impact on your business, should they occur.

What is a disaster recovery plan?

In short, a disaster recovery plan outlines what your business needs to do to recover from a disaster. It should be a written document and printed out, in addition to being stored online.

Writing a DR plan

When it comes to disaster recovery planning, you can follow a basic structure:

  • Introduction
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Response
  • DR procedures
  • Notes or appendices

Keep in mind that your IT disaster recovery plan is essentially like insurance; you spend time and money to prepare for a list of possible scenarios that will hopefully never occur. 

It might seem costly now, but when disaster strikes, a comprehensive DR plan can easily be the difference between a slow day at the office, and your business losing a lot of money.

Some of the things that should be included in your DR plan are:

  • Locations - the locations your business relies on to operate.
  • Business critical systems - The systems or applications your business needs to operate efficiently, arranged in order of priority.
  • Business critical data - The data that is critical to your business, like an operations manual, your accounting data, or your ordering book.
  • Services - List all the servers your business owns, their location, and their priority for restoration.
  • Action list - List all the actions that should be taken, per location. Also, list the steps to be taken in the event of a location being down or unavailable.
  • Key contacts - The contact details of key business personnel and contact details of key locations.

Disaster recovery plans are more comprehensive than a business continuity plan, even though they might not cover all the different contingencies for your assets, processes, and resources.

The importance of a disaster recovery solution

With disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), you can address all the different scenarios and disaster types, from a telephone outage to a natural disaster like a flood.

With cyber-attacks also becoming more sophisticated, a DR plan is now more important than ever. Statistics show that many malicious attackers stay undetected for more than 200 days, which means attackers have plenty of time to plant malware and affect your data.

It's important to get your business' data recovery plan in place as soon as possible. Working with an experienced IT team will allow you to set up a comprehensive DR plan that is customised to your business, and give you the reaction and support that your business needs in the event of a disaster.

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