A disaster recovery plan is like an emergency generator, seat belts, or insurance. They can be an annoying pain in the posterior, but you can really be in trouble if you don’t have them in place! But all you have to do is stop and think of all the possible disasters that could hit your business, and suddenly the idea of putting together a contingency plan sounds a lot more attractive.
But the thing to remember is that an inadequate disaster recovery plan is about as useful as no plan at all. The phrase “It’s better than nothing” most certainly does NOT apply here! So here are three things that your disaster recovery plan needs to actually be useful.
Embrace The Backup Rule Of Three
If you haven’t heard this one before, it’s a favored axiom of many IT professionals. Have three copies of all valuable data, use two different media for the backup, and store one off-site. For instance, you could have your data backed up on an external hard drive and stored elsewhere in the building, a tape drive backup stored in a different building elsewhere, and a virtual copy stored in the cloud.
The article “5 Things You Never Considered About The ‘Recovery’ Part Of ‘Disaster Recovery'” correctly points out that, post-disaster, you may not have power or access to the Internet. That’s why the article advises that you should have a hard-copy backup of crucial data, contacts, hardware serial numbers, and copies of the plan itself.
Define Roles Clearly, And Know Where Everyone Is
A disaster recovery team is made up of people who each has a particular job or role in the recovery procedure. That’s why your plan needs to clearly spell out who is doing what. There must be no ambiguity or redundancy.
Furthermore, there has to be an easy way of contacting everyone on the team. This harkens back to the first point of having hard copies of crucial data. Make sure that there’s an easy-to-find list of everyone on the team, their roles, and contact information such as phone numbers, email, Twitter handles, whatever.
Have An Alternate Workspace In Mind
If your building is out of commission thanks to the disaster in question, make sure that you have access to a backup facility. Granted, in this day and age of easy Internet communications, having people scattered all over the place and working remotely is a viable option, but it’s still important to have a centralized location. Think of it like a mobile command headquarters.
Furthermore, if your business has a customer service element to it, then you need to have a means of informing your customers about your current status and when you expect things to return to normal. If your business relies on phone and/or computer sales, then you better have access to working phones and Internet to keep the lines of communication open. You could even keep doing business despite your physical location’s difficulties.
Granted, this is an overly simplified list of recovery advice, but the three featured items are arguably the most crucial part of any successful disaster recovery plan. Use the above as guidelines, forge your plan, and hope you never have to use it!