No one wants to face a disaster, but these events happen. In 2017, hurricanes impacted people across many states and territories. Other natural disasters can strike during the year. As a business owner or management professional, you need to have a plan in place if disaster strikes. A disaster recovery plan can help a business overcome the challenges following this type of event. As you create your disaster recovery plan, make sure to include several key parts.
Depending on the type of disaster, communication could be limited. Make sure your disaster plan includes a communication plan. If normal methods, such as phone and email, don’t work, you need a backup way to communicate. The plan should outline the communication and inform employees of the disaster. You should also talk about expectations for working on their tasks and how you plan to provide updates regarding the status of the disaster.
Along with communication, your employees will need to know where to go if a disaster strikes your area. They may not be able to get to work or have a way to get online. If your office is destroyed in the disaster, where should everyone go? Answer this question in your disaster plan. You may need to establish a backup worksite or have employees telecommute.
Software and Hardware
Every business uses software and hardware. You may use both to maintain records and track inventory. Managing employee data and communicating with people also require software and hardware. Your disaster recovery plan should include a detailed list of all software used. Include who uses what software and why they need it. The plan should also contain an inventory of all hardware. Make sure the inventory shows the hardware location and who has the hardware.
Keep the name of the vendor with each listing. Know where to find technical support contact information from the vendor. With this information in one place, you can start making calls for support to get systems up and running faster.
Downtime and Data Loss
Before a disaster happens, your business should define how it will tolerate data loss and downtime. In some industries, the tolerance is much lower. Health care is one example, since data loss could violate HIPAA. Downtime can also have a bigger impact on web-based companies, such as Amazon or eBay. Every second could result in major losses of sales. In your plan, outline how you will tolerate data loss and downtime.
This section should also include your acceptable recovery time objective. This objective refers to how fast a system will be running after a disaster. Also, cover the objective for recovery points for all applications. When you’re working with software and hardware vendors, make sure everyone understands what you expect. All vendors should be able to meet your expectations. If the vendor can’t perform, think about working with another vendor. You may need to change your objectives. Expecting software to come back up within seconds of a disaster may not be realistic.
Create a List of Roles During a Disaster
A disaster can lead to chaos, especially if people don’t know what their roles are during a disaster. In your disaster recovery plan, create a list of everyone who will be involved. Include their roles and what they need to do. Make sure to communicate your expectations to everyone on the list before something happens. When people understand their roles, they can act fast, which is important when you’re working with external vendors. People need to know what their tasks are to prevent duplicate work and confusion.
Handling Sensitive Information
If your business keeps any type of sensitive information, a data loss disaster could impact many people. Include a plan for how to handle this information in the event that a server can’t be used, for example. Your business may have support for its server, software, hardware, or other technical equipment. You should also address this plan with any third-party vendors that provide service or support
After a disaster, getting your business back to regular operation may seem difficult. With a plan in place, the steps will be better defined. People can start taking on their responsibilities as soon as the situation has improved. This level of control helps reduce chaos and confusion. In certain industries, a disaster could result in the loss of equipment you need. Consider renting the items you need to keep the business going. Access to equipment can help your business move forward after a disaster.