What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan, and How Can I Create One for My Business?

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document that outlines how an organization should respond to and recover from an unexpected emergency. This could be anything from severe weather to a cyberattack. By having a plan in place, businesses can minimize the damage caused and get back up and running as quickly as possible.

What Does a Disaster Recovery Plan Include?

The contents of a DRP will vary depending on the size and needs of the organization, but typically, it will include:

  • A list of critical systems and components
  • Contact information for key personnel
  • Procedures for backing up data and restoring systems   
  • Procedures for notifying employees and customers   
  • Plans for alternate work locations  

Now that you have a general idea of what a DRP could look like, we’ll dive into some specifics.

RPOs and RTOs

One of the most important aspects of any disaster recovery plan is setting realistic recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). 

Your RPO is the maximum amount of time that can pass between backups before you start losing data. For example, if your RPO is four hours, that means you can only afford to lose up to four hours worth of data in the event of a disaster.

Your RTO, on the other hand, is the maximum amount of time that systems can be down before your business starts to experience serious consequences. For example, if your RTO is four hours, that means you need to have systems up and running again within four hours of a disaster occurring.

Setting realistic RPOs and RTOs can be challenging, but it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared when it comes to a disaster. A managed service provider is an invaluable tool in determining your RPO and RTO.

Instructions For Each Department In the Event of An IT Emergency

Once you’ve set your RPOs and RTOs, it’s time to start thinking about the practical steps that need to be taken to meet those goals. Here is a list of instructions that each department should have in their disaster recovery plan:

IT Department

The first and most important step is to assess the situation and determine what systems are affected. Then you need to start backing up any critical data that may be lost. This includes anything that hasn’t been backed up in the last RPO. Once you have a backup, you can start working on restoring any lost data and getting systems up and running again.

HR Department

In the event of a disaster, the HR department’s priority should be ensuring the safety of all employees. Once you’ve done that, you need to start thinking about how to keep the business running.

This may include finding temporary work locations or making arrangements for employees to work remotely. You should also have a plan in place for contacting employees and keeping them updated on the situation. 

Customer Service Department & Public Relations

The customer service department should ensure that customers are aware of the situation and know what to expect. Public relations or marketing can help your business save face and keep customers informed.

Where Should I Start When Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan?

You may be wondering where to start with your disaster recovery plan. Don’t worry—we’re here to help.

1. Determine what disaster recovery strategy, if any, your business already has. Do you have automatic backups in place or manual backups that need to be completed regularly? Do you have any off-site storage for critical data? 

2. Evaluate the technology and devices each department uses and prioritize what needs to be restored if an unplanned outage or disaster were to occur. For example, the IT department may prioritize restoring systems over restoring data, while the HR department may prioritize contacting employees and ensuring their safety over everything else.

3. Even if you feel confident in your ability to create a disaster recovery plan, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. An IT provider who specializes in this can help you determine your needs and create a comprehensive plan accordingly. 

Be Prepared for Anything with Fusion Managed IT

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the task of creating a disaster recovery plan for your business, Fusion Managed IT can help. We can complete an audit of your security and work with you to create a DR plan that gets you up and running with little downtime and minimal data loss. Contact us today to get started.

Author: James Michalak

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