Creating a Disaster Recovery Testing Schedule for the New Year

Taking steps to create a disaster recovery (DR) plan for your business is a great start to minimizing financial loss and threats to your company’s survival in the event of a business interruption. However, if you create your plan and leave it on the shelf, it’s just as bad as not making one at all. If it’s going to be an effective tool for your business it must be tested, adapted and reviewed.

Your DR plan should include the actions to be taken before, during and after a disturbance to minimize the disruption of critical functions, recover operations successfully and provide a sense of security for your employees. To help you begin this, at times, daunting task, we have compiled the important elements that your DR plan should include.

The Commitment of Top Management

Top management must be involved in the planning process, because they will be able to provide the time and financial resources necessary to help the DR plan be effective within your organization.

An Established Planning Committee

Considering all the aspects of recovery after a disaster is necessary, so representatives from each department of the company should be included in your DR planning committee to oversee the plan’s development and implementation.

A Risk Assessment

Once the DR planning committee is established, it should perform a risk assessment. The assessment should include a range of disaster scenarios, such as inaccessibility of data, loss of communications, an uninhabitable facility, etc. After developing scenarios and determining how they affect each department in the company, assess the associated costs.

Ranked Departmental Priorities

Each department must maintain different critical functions to remain operational after a disturbance. Identify what these critical functions are and rank them as essential, important or optional priorities.

Recovery Strategies

Your business’s recovery strategy should reflect its individual recovery requirements. The first decision to make is whether or not backup resources, such as equipment and a secondary facility, will be provided in-house or by a third party.

While in-house recovery strategies give the planner more control over their specifications, it can be expensive to keep up with maintenance, depreciation and replacement costs. Contracting a third-party provider can help you save on the overall expense of purchasing and maintaining a backup facility and equipment.

Testing Schedule

Test and evaluate your DR plan regularly to identify problem areas that need revision, address missing recovery steps and prepare your staff before a disaster occurs. If your staff has already walked through a disaster scenario, they will know what to expect when a real disaster occurs, making your business’s recovery a smoother operation.

DR planning should address all of the aforementioned criteria to help you prepare for a disaster so your business can continue to function and serve customers.

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