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The importance of having a computer backup plan in place in the event of a major computer failure.

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For many business owners, creating a Disaster Recovery Plan after a disaster is an extremely important task that unfortunately is all too often postponed – perhaps because it doesn’t seem to be a priority.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A computer disaster recovery plan is a documented and structured approach with instructions that allow for quick readjustment to deal with unexpected incidents.

This plan, detailed step-by-step, includes precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so that the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before generating a detailed plan, an organization often conducts a business impact and risk analysis, and then establishes the recovery time objective and the recovery point objective.

Is a universal recovery plan template appropriate?

There are already established procedures that you can refer to on websites and even templates that you can find online.  But how do you know if it will really be effective and if it will really allow your business to get back up and running quickly, with minimal damage? No one is interested in thinking about disasters that may require partial or complete data recovery such as floods, fires, tornadoes, snowstorms, hurricanes, equipment failure and terrorism? But with recent events, we realize that no one is safe, and just like a will, this emergency plan is an indispensable tool. According to information technology experts at Frontier IT in Colorado Springs, here are seven shocking statistics on disaster recovery that small business owners need to consider:

  • According to a 2015 survey of 500 small business owners conducted by Nationwide, 70% of small businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan.
  • 52% of small businesses say it would take at least three months to recover from a disaster, according to the same survey.
  • Only 18% of businesses surveyed that have fewer than 50 employees have a disaster recovery plan, according to the same survey.
  • Nearly 40% of small businesses close after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • 51% of the hundreds of companies surveyed for the 2014 Disaster Preparedness Benchmark Survey received a failing grade in disaster preparedness.

The main steps in the development of a computer disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery strategy should start at the corporate level and determine which actions are most important to achieve the organization’s mission.

In determining a disaster recovery strategy, organizations should consider issues such as:

  • The budget ;
  • Resources – people and physical facilities ;
  • Management’s position on risks ;
  • The technology ;
  • The data ;
  • Suppliers .

Management approval of recovery strategies is important. All strategies should be aligned with organizational objectives. Once disaster recovery strategies have been developed and approved, they can be translated into recovery plans.

Steps in planning the disaster recovery plan

The process of creating a disaster recovery plan involves more than just writing the document. Prior to writing, a risk analysis and business impact analysis determine where to focus resources in the disaster recovery planning process.

A 9-step recovery plan checklist is summarized as follows: 

  1. Inventory and identify hardware in a database ;
  2. Identify data and applications ;
  3. Categorize the workforce necessary for the smooth running of the company ;
  4. Regulate service restart priorities ;
  5. Define RPO/RTO thresholds ;
  6. Analysis and approval of technical and financial solutions ;
  7. Execution and drafting of the report of procedures ;
  8. Composition of the recovery plan and conditions of triggering ;
  9. Test period and update of procedures and recovery plan .

Disaster recovery plans are living documents. Employee and management participation greatly enhance the value of the plan.

Create an IT succession plan

An organization can begin its IT succession plan with a summary of vital action steps and a list of important contacts so that the most essential information is quickly and easily accessible.

The plan should define the roles and responsibilities of the disaster recovery team members and describe the criteria for implementing the plan.  The plan should also detail incident response and recovery activities.

In Sum

Don’t wait for a disaster to happen to create your IT disaster recovery plan, the future of your business could be threatened…