Six Essential Pieces of a Disaster Recovery Plan

By Joe Gillis, Global Business Development Director - 30 Apr, 2018
Physical Security
Disasters happen in all shapes and sizes. Last year, hurricanes, earthquakes, data reaches, and internet outages struck companies all over the world. And any sort of disaster that results in downtime can be detrimental to any size business without a disaster recovery plan.

Unplanned downtime, no matter the cause, costs between $926 to $17,244 per minute, making even an hour of downtime a severe loss. At least 12 percent of companies could not recover data after the disaster and 35 percent end up losing at least one business-critical app. These stats tell the story of the importance of a disaster recovery plan.

A total of 96 percent of companies will survive a ransomware attack if they have a reliable BDR or backup and disaster recovery solution in place. Yet, only 40 percent of companies have a disaster recovery plan in place. The truth is, you may not survive a disaster without one.

Ready to get started on your disaster recovery plan? Let’s discuss six essential pieces and what they mean for your strategy.

1. Inventory All Hardware and Software

Your disaster recovery plan should include a complete inventory of all hardware and software. You will want to make sure that one integral piece of software is not missing as you begin the process of rebooting. Downtime in one single area could mean security holes and a faulty network, resulting in future downtime when you expect everything to be back to normal.

You should also have the hardware or software’s technical support information within your inventory list as well as product numbers, contract numbers, etc. That will make it easier to assist the one’s assisting you on the other end, creating a smoother process for all.

2. How Long Can You Last Without Your Tech?

Your DR plan should outline how long your business can last without technology to serve as a baseline for recovery efforts. Tim Singleton of Strive Technology Consulting states, “If you are a plumber, you can probably be in business without servers or technology for a while. But if you are eBay, you can’t be down for more than seconds. Figuring out where you are on this spectrum will determine what type of solution you will need to recover from a disaster.”

It is important to measure the recovery time for each application, software or hardware. This measure will allow you to prioritize during recovery, starting with the most critical applications and programs to keep your business going.

3. Communication is Key

There must be organization within your disaster recovery plan, starting with communication. During a disaster, certain modes of communication may not be available that we depend on today. Phone and email may not be available during downtime and other forms of communication will need to be utilized. Your plan should outline these forms of communication and your employees should be made aware of the communication plan for disasters.

You will also want to be able to communicate with customers, vendors, suppliers and whoever else your business depends on. A written plan will extinguish communication barriers, helping you get back on your feet faster.

4. Who Is Responsible for What?

Each disaster recovery plan should have key roles and responsibilities outlined and who is responsible for each. To operate as efficiently as possible, all parties involved in your business, inside and out, should know who to communicate with in case of a disaster. Someone must be responsible for issuing the disaster call, taking care of incoming communication, speaking to press, or other critical positions.

You should also make sure your plan includes contact information for each party, including numbers that are offsite. A succession plan is crucial as well, in case any stakeholder is unavailable due to vacation or other occasions.

5. Share Your Plan with Employees

The number one factor in whether you can recover from a disaster is your employees’ ability to follow the plan. Employees should be given a copy of the plan to study and then allowed to ask questions for optimal understanding. Training is also a good idea, going through the practice of the plan in a controlled environment. Employees who are willing can also be given responsibilities during a potential disaster to help stakeholders with their load.

6. Test Your Plan Regularly

There are so many factors to a disaster recovery plan that something could fail without your notice until a disaster strikes. It is important to test your disaster recovery plan prior to the actual moment it should be put into action. Hardware can fail, your internet connection may be too slow, and your CIO may have a new number that you know nothing about. Testing your plan regularly will cover all the bases.

Your business depends on a solid recovery plan for any size of disaster. Proper testing, communication planning, an inventory and plan sharing are all critical elements of an efficient plan that will keep your business ready for anything. If you’d like to learn more about creating a disaster recovery plan and how New Era Tech can help you achieve your goals, contact us today.

Author: Joe Gillis, Global Business Development Director

Joe Gillis, a graduate of Loyola University, began his career with FTG Technologies, a New Era Technology company, in 2010 as an Account Executive. After proving his skills in team-building, client interaction, and developing strategic relationships, he was promoted to Sales Manager in 2012. Today, Joe continues to lead the sales team and serves as a member of the senior management team. When Joe isn’t leading the sales team he enjoys time with his young family and is an avid golfer. Prior to joining FTG, Joe worked for the PGA Tour within Tournament Operations.