Is your disaster recovery planning 2016-ready?

Is your disaster recovery planning 2016-ready?

If your business has ever been affected by an event such as the current flood crisis and recent closing of the Forth Road Bridge, you understand why it’s vital to have an effective disaster recovery (DR) strategy in place. However, creating a plan is only step one. ITS explains how to make your planning more effective.

To be effective, your DR plan should include the actions to be taken before, during and after a disturbance to minimise the disruption of critical functions, recover operations successfully and provide a sense of security for your employees. With it being the start of a new year, what better time to take steps to create or update a DR plan for your business?

The commitment of management - top management must be involved in the planning process, because they will be able to provide the time and financial resources necessary to help the DR plan be effective within your organisation. 

An established planning committee - considering all the aspects of recovery after a disaster is necessary, so representatives from each department of the company should be included in your DR planning committee to oversee the plan’s development and implementation. 

A risk assessment - once the DR planning committee is established, they should perform a risk assessment. The assessment should include a range of disaster scenarios, such as inaccessibility of data, loss of communications, an uninhabitable facility, etc. After developing scenarios and determining how they affect each department in the company, assess the associated costs. 

Ranked departmental priorities - each department must maintain different critical functions to remain operational after a disturbance. Identify what these critical functions are and rank them as essential, important or optional priorities. 

Recovery strategies - your recovery strategy should reflect individual recovery requirements. The first decision to make is whether or not backup resources, such as equipment and a secondary facility, will be provided in-house or by a third party. 

While in-house recovery strategies give the planner more control over their specifications, it can be expensive to keep up with maintenance, depreciation and replacement costs. Contracting a third-party provider can help you save on the overall expense of purchasing and maintaining a backup facility and equipment. 

Testing schedule - test and evaluate your DR plan regularly to identify problem areas that need revision, address missing recovery steps and prepare your staff before a disaster occurs. If your staff has already walked through a disaster scenario, they will know what to expect when a real disaster occurs, making your business’s recovery a smoother operation.