Hope for the Best; Prepare for the Worst
In order for a DR plan to be effective in any scenario, it's important to determine the absolute minimum resources required to keep your important processes running and to meet any applicable regulatory requirements (read more about business continuity planning here).
Make Sure You Have Access to Essential IT Assets
Back up your business-critical information and store it at an alternate site — out of harm’s way, if possible. Many business owners don't expect for their office to be destroyed, but that assumption is ultimately detrimental because critical information could be destroyed along with it. Prepare for a disaster to destroy all your files and information, and store backup copies of everything at an off-site location where you will be able to retrieve it.
Office equipment such as printers, copiers, computers and telephones should also be accounted for in a disaster situation. If your employees are going to work from an alternate site, make sure it is equipped with the technology they would have at their regular office. Without the technology to do their jobs, business could become stagnant, which could lead to extended downtime.
Make Arrangements for Non-IT Assets
Office space is the number one non-IT asset to make sure you have in case of a disaster. Your office may be inaccessible or unsafe to work from, in which case you will need a backup. A Mobile Recovery Center (MRC) can be sent to a location near the business in case of lost power, or it can be miles away from a business, out of danger's path. A Business Recovery Center (BRC) can be a temporary office in case of a disaster. When your office has been destroyed and the city is in ruins, a BRC provides a true office atmosphere for your employees to continue work.
Whatever type of facility you choose to use, make sure you plan how you will power it. If you are going to use a generator, how will you get the generator to the facility? In addition, how will you fuel the generator? These aspects need to be included in a recovery plan so your business can operate quickly after a disaster.
Last but not least, make arrangements for your employees. Just as we discussed in part 1 of this series, it is crucial to create a plan and include employees so they will know what to do before a disaster strikes. Employees keep businesses running, so try to assess and address potential issues while keeping your staff informed.
Obtain Backup Vendors
According to an APQC survey, almost 75 percent of 195 large companies surveyed recently got hit by an unexpected major supply chain disruption in the last 24 months.
Between your employees' safety, your business's safety and your personal safety, things are hectic during a disaster. The last thing you want to worry about is a critical vendor being out of commission. Make sure you are aware ahead of time who your backup vendors are and how to contact them in the event of a disaster. Determine which critical processes require outside parties and assess what their availability will be in the event of a disaster.
Check out our "What to Do When..." blogs for information on how to prepare for specific disasters.