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Characteristics of an effective disaster recovery plan

Power outages, floods, equipment failure, cyberattacks, and other disasters lead to downtime and lost revenue. Without a proper disaster recovery (DR) strategy, your business will spend an exorbitant amount to repair damages and restore operations.

And since a large portion of business operations rely on collected data like medical records, vendor information, and payroll details, having no qualified DR plans puts your company at serious risk of data loss. If you want a good DR plan, make sure to take into account the following.

Risk assessments

A crucial part of the disaster recovery planning process is the assessment of potential risks that could result in emergency situations, downtime, data loss, and other negative impacts on your business. It is necessary to consider all possible incidents and the effect each may have on the business’s ability to deliver its normal services.

Playbook of clear responsibilities

Everyone should know the step-by-step actions to take in the event of a disaster. This includes procedures on setting up alternative offices if needed, assessing damage, getting systems up and running, and keeping customers, third-party vendors, and other stakeholders informed of your business’s status.

Your employees should know what to do and whom to communicate with during an emergency situation. Therefore, everyone in your staff should know the names and contact numbers of the key personnel responsible for deploying the disaster recovery plan.

Updated communication plan

When disaster strikes, no one in your company should be left in the dark even if regular modes of communication are rendered unreliable. Outline procedures for your employees to communicate with one another, with vendors, and with customers. Include backups should email, cell coverage, or phone lines become unavailable.

Include procedures to update your website and any online portals to keep your organization informed about next steps. Provide an easily accessible directory such as a social media group of updated employee contact information with employees’ roles in the days following a disaster.

Asset inventory

Your DR plan cannot do without a detailed inventory of office equipment such as workstations, phones, and IT hardware. This will serve as a quick reference for insurance claims.

You will also need to determine which assets your business requires in order to run — technologies, finances, supplies, and communications. Documenting these assets will allow you to have a clearer understanding of the necessary logistics for their backup and recovery.

For instance, an IT asset inventory, not only of hardware but also of critical applications, should be listed in order of importance. Applications should include cloud-based systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and data backups. This will allow you to efficiently restore assets according to priority and get your business up and running quickly.

Include information about each item when possible — passwords, serial numbers, technical support information, contact information, purchase dates, service dates, and locations. Inventory management tools can help you track all of this easily.

Regular testing and updates

The success of your DR plan will hinge on conducting periodic reviews and updates. For instance, someone who has left your company should no longer be listed as responsible for a critical task. Your DR plan should also include your latest applications, suppliers, and partnerships.

People need to know their roles well and execute them properly. To achieve this, you will need to schedule regular practice drills such as simulated disasters.

And to ensure that your backup works properly, data backup testing should be automated and should cover virtual machines, applications, databases, and individual files. Run automated tests to ensure your data is where it should be.

Vendor and supplier communication

Make sure to include vendor communication in your DR plan. After a natural disaster, check with your local power, telecom, and internet providers for interruptions, surges, and restoration schedules.

Review your service level agreements (SLAs) with IT vendors and service providers to see if assistance is available. If you’ve partnered with a managed services provider (MSP), make sure they work diligently alongside you in the recovery strategy.

These details should give you a better understanding of the significance of having a well-thought-out disaster recovery plan. Having a DR plan helps provide protection against downtime and system failures.

Midwest Data Center can assess your needs and develop a robust and effective disaster recovery plan alongside you. We can even provide solutions and infrastructure for its critical components. Reach out to our experts today.

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