When a disaster occurs, it usually happens when you are least prepared, and damaging materials and equipment, you cannot afford to lose. When you know what needs to be done before, during, and after an incident, you can prevent the initial panic and overwhelming feeling of loss. A disaster recovery plan will reduce the extent of the damage, and assist you in carrying out an organized recovery effort.

Disaster plans differ from one organization to the next, but they all contain the basic principles addressing pre-loss preventative measures, emergency procedures, and post-loss recovery efforts. Here are the six starting points you need when drafting your Disaster Recovery Plan.

  • Goals: Determine and prioritize the goals for your organization. They must have support and validity from the senior-most personnel.
  • Simplicity: Simply put make it simple. A complex plan full of fluff will cause more of a disaster when it becomes time to execute. Keep the goals and priorities clear and simple, and the plan will be successful.
  • Maintenance: Periodically schedule a review of the plan, which is usually about every six months. This is necessary as administrative information changes, along with job responsibilities, and business goals and priorities.
  • Practice: Setup disaster drills to ensure the plan actually works as intended. Separate out the weak links, and make changes as necessary.
  • Business impact Analysis (BIA): Quantify the hard cost of the business or portion of the business being inoperable. This loss is cumulative dollars verses time. This will define the window of time available to renew business operations, and define the restoration project timeline.
  • Risk Analysis: Vital documentation should be defined, as 5% – 7% of total documentation exists in original copy form. The location of this documentation must be written into the plan to ensure recovery. Consider either safe storage options or maintaining backups offsite. Critical assets and equipment, along with critical business partners, must be written into the plan and addressed as well.