Put yourself in the shoes of a business owner whose business was flourishing before this pandemic. As soon as the pandemic hit and cities around the world went into lockdown, your business was forced to close its doors. As the lockdowns stretched from weeks to months, your business starts to suffer even more. Soon, you must fire your employees and your business is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Does all this sound familiar to you? If yes, then you are not alone. Millions of businesses around the world have suffered the same fate as yours. Did you know why? Because they are ill-prepared to deal with such a crisis and do not have a disaster recovery plan.
Researcher Navid Sahebjamnia summed it up brilliantly when he said, “Businesses are increasingly subject to disruptions. It is almost impossible to predict their nature, time and extent. Therefore, organizations need a proactive approach equipped with a decision support framework to protect themselves against the outcomes of disruptive events.”
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan is basically a business document that lays down the action plan and highlights the resources required during a disaster. Everything from processes, employees, assets and services are covered by a disaster recovery plan. When designed and used efficiently, these disaster recovery plans can help your business avert disaster and ensures business continuity. It keeps your business functioning even in a crisis.
In this article, you will learn about the seven steps businesses should take to create a disaster recovery plan.
1. Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective
The two most important metrics you need to track when creating a disaster recovery plan for your business is the recovery time objective and recovery point objective. Recovery time objective refers to the time business will take to come back to normal and restore all the system back to the previous state.
On the other hand, the recovery point objective refers to the loss tolerance. It reflects how much data you can afford to lose and how much damage will it do to your business. Your disaster recovery plan will revolve around these two-key metrics. Keep in mind that both RTO and RPO can vary from time to time so it is important for these businesses to keep track of the variance.
2. Target Disaster Recovery Site
Once you have set key benchmarks, it is time to select a disaster recovery site. This is where all your support infrastructure and data backups reside. They are mostly built-in remote locations so it can allow businesses to restore operations even under tough situations.
There are three types of disaster recovery sites:
- Cold site
- Warm site
- Hot site
A cold site has power, networking and cooling capabilities but does not have storage and servers. A warm site builds upon that by adding storage such as hard drives along with HOSTNOC VPS server. A hot site is a fully functional data backup site. Make sure you choose the right type of disaster recovery site according to your business needs.
3. Allocate Resources and Define Roles
If you are serious about disaster recovery, you should form a dedicated team for disaster recovery. Allocate resources, define roles, and assign responsibilities to your team members. Every member of the team should be aware of their responsibilities, so they do not waste any time in figuring out what they need to do in cases of an emergency. In fact, you should prepare and train your disaster recovery team in handling common disaster situations.
4. Have a Communication Plan
Communication between disaster recovery team members and other functional units of the organization is critical to success. All stakeholders need to be on the same page to restore business operations quickly. To make this possible, it is important to have a communication plan. Clearly define the procedure for contacting employees during a crisis so everyone knows who to contact. Your communication plans should also consider stakeholders such as vendors, partners and even customers.
5. Establish a Disaster Recovery Protocol
Once you have a communication plan and procedure in place, now it is time to formulate protocols. This will give your employees a clear path to follow. With a step by step instructions in front of them, following those instructions would be much easier. It will also help you restore business operations to normal faster.
6. Analyze Service Level Agreement
As more and more businesses continue to outsource, we see more and more third-party service providers getting involved. This has increased the importance of analyzing service level agreements of all the vendors, suppliers, and service providers. You will realize this when there is a network outage, or you must experience downtime due to any other reason. It should be crystal clear who is responsible for recovering systems and restoring them to their last state. This also help you hold your service providers and vendors accountable and force them to deliver an acceptable level of service.
7. Conduct Continuous Testing
Just because you have a disaster recovery plan does not mean that you need to relax. What if your disaster recovery plan did not work when you need it the most? To prevent this from happening, it is important that you regularly test your disaster recovery plan. Your disaster recovery plan should also evolve with changes in your business and infrastructure needs.
By performing frequent audits and putting your disaster recovery plan to the test, you can increase its efficiency and make it more reliable. Make sure that you choose a disaster recovery plan which is the best fit for your business needs because if you choose a wrong disaster recovery plan, it does not matter how much you improve, it won’t benefit your business. Instead, it will harm your business and keep you in the illusion that you are safe because you have a disaster recovery plan.
How do you create a disaster recovery plan for your business? Let us know in the comments section below.