How To Write and Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan

A Disaster Recovery Plan is exactly what the name might suggest. It is a type of documentation put forth by an organization that contains detailed instructions on how to respond to unplanned events. These events could include something like a natural disaster, power outages, or even cyber attacks.

a flooded street with cars, representing the importance of a disaster recovery plan

Phases Of Disaster Recovery Plan

When it comes to a good Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), there are three big stages involved; Assessment, Restoration and Recovery. Likewise, working towards the prevention of things that would enact the protocol and ensuring your business is as best prepared as possible are critical steps to take as well. 

  • Assessment: This is arguably the most important phase of a DRP. However, it also is one of the most overlooked and underused parts. If, and when, a disaster happens, being able to assess the extent of the damage that has occurred is critical to understanding next steps. Having the ability to answer questions such as “How is IT affected by this?” “Is there any risk to services not affected right now?” “Can this be done off-site of where the disaster took place?” and so many others will help clarify the situation as you move along the phases of a DRP.
  • Restoration: This phase may refer to being able to restore services and procedures at a secondary site but it also may mean restoring operations at the main site of the disaster. However, during restoration, communication is key and king. Make sure your restoration team knows the logistics of the situation, are sure of what the plan is, and how they are expected to report any problems. Team leads should ask for updates and to make sure the tasks that need to be completed are still being completed and on time. This is where you can build effectiveness on putting things back into place and together. 
  • Recovery: Recovery may seem like a part of the restoration process but there is a separation when it comes to a Disaster Recovery Plan. While restoration works on putting things back together the way they were before, or even to a intermediary functional state, recovery deals with gaining back possession of files in the case of a cyber attack, or recovering people’s personal belongings in the case of a natural disaster. There are some things to consider during the recovery portion of the plan. Identifying points where data could be lost, what processes need to be changed with third party interfaces, and which critical systems may be running while those outsides of those systems may still be down. 

Making sure your recovery plan has these three phases is very important to having a good DRP, and it is just as important to make sure that you look it over and identify any possible upgrades and/or improvements it will need as your company grows, progresses, and evolves.

 

How To Write A Good Disaster Recovery Plan

 

When it comes to making a good DRP, there are a few factors in play and some steps that need to be followed along the way. 

 

  • Create a disaster recovery team: This team will be in charge of everything that happens with plotting out and implementing a DRP. The team putting the DRP together is also in charge of making sure the right personnel are in place to carry out the plan when it needs to be enacted. 
  • Identifying disaster risks: Assessment when things get into place is just as important as assessing the risk factors before a situation occurs; this will make sure that your team is more prepared and will have a better chance to contain the situation when it arises. While assessing, you can create strategies for recovery and put the resources in place to recover from things such as natural disasters and man-made emergencies.
  • Determine what is critical to operations: When it comes to disasters, being able to be back on your feet in a timely manner is of the utmost importance. A DRP should focus on what you need in the short term, creating enough cash flow to get the critical things done that need to be achieved for this restoration.
  • Back-up and Off-site Storage: Having backups in case of emergency is key in any part of life, from a phone backup to physical files and everything in between. It needs to be outlined in your DRP what files need to be backed up, by who, and the process to do so.
  • Test and maintain: Any good part of a document in the workplace is to make sure it makes sense and works, but also that it is updated as time goes on. If you have outdated documents, it will only lead to confusion among those who are enacting the protocol needed in an already dire situation. 

 

Making sure you have the right people in place to write your disaster recovery plan is essential to its effectiveness, and there’s no better group than Essential Data’s technical writing team for the job!

a person writing a disaster recovery plan

Benefits Of Having a DRP 

 

There are a number of benefits to having a DRP for your business. One of the big ones is that to have a current and up-to-date DRP, you will need to know what’s in your inventory and therefore have a good assessment of that at all times. Another big one is the reduction in cost it will provide, knowing what areas you lose money in to keep a current DRP is a huge benefit. If you need a hardware upgrade, then maintaining the network should point that out for cost savings. 

 

Having a DRP will help also with how expensive downtime is; when a disaster does happen, having the right document can help you manage the time you are down and minimize the cost associated with that. 

 

When it comes to protecting your business, the professional writers at EDC can help you develop and maintain a disaster recovery plan with the multitude of the services we offer, while also giving you the tools to get your process off the ground and running efficiently. 

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

 

Written by Dylan Friebel

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