When that hurricane strikes, will you be ready? Will your network and data center be up and running again tomorrow so business can continue as usual? If you haven’t planned for the unexpected, then the  answer is likely no. Here is a disaster recovery plan checklist to help be prepared for the unexpected.

Most disasters don’t come with warnings

Even those some disasters are predictable with advances in technology, it still tends to strike when you least expect it—and for unpredictable reasons: fires, cyberattacks, hurricanes, malware and even simple human error.

Each type of disaster has unique consequences on the people, systems and processes that make your business run. Below is a checklist to ensure that you are prepared even a situation occurs.

1. Identify roles and responsibilities.
  • Who are the key stakeholders, executives and managers that will handle an impact?
  • Who will monitor the financial impact and business continuity?
  • Who will make decisions on business relocation?
  • Who has access to secure systems or the ability to grant authorization to others?
  • What tasks need to be completed in each department to restore operations as soon as possible?
  • Decide exactly who will make decisions in an immediate manner – The quicker action is taken, the quicker you will be able to restore business functions
2. Your employees come first.
  • Consider this first – how you’ll take care of your employees?
  • What steps will you take to communicate?
  • What if there are widespread injuries at the office?
  • How will you obtain urgent medical care or emergency supplies?
  • Thinking beyond a simple first-aid kit if you want to make your people a priority.
3. Have a backup office space.
  • Do you have a backup location to run operations or a place to go to continue business as you restore other functions?
  • Consider where your staff will work if the office cannot be opened.
  • Is adequate technology in place to allow people to work remotely?
  • Consider creating a separate, evolving checklist that identifies potential available real estate that would allow your business to relocate immediately, if necessary. That means making phone calls and remaining in close contact with real estate professionals who could get you into a new space right away.
4. Take inventory of your equipment.
  • You’re operating on a limited, mission-critical staff. How many computers will you need? How many mobile phones? Who gets them, and where do they get them from?
  • Every business should already have up-to-date inventory of all office equipment, including computers, IT infrastructure, furniture and other assets. Your disaster recovery plan should identify how you’ll reproduce that entire inventory after a major disaster, as well as a smaller inventory of absolute mission-critical equipment.
5. Recover your valuable data.
  • This includes all files, emails and digital assets. If it’s saved anywhere on your network, it needs to be backed up constantly and easily restored after a disaster.
  • Chances are this data is your business’s most valuable asset and the most important component affecting your business’s downtime. Having a solid backup solution must be a critical part of your IT disaster recovery plan.
  • Consider how and where you are backing up your data. Is it on-site? In the cloud? Is the data encrypted? How quickly can it be restored? What is the risk of data being compromised or corrupted during recovery?
6. Make communication avenues and make it easy.
  • Recovering after a disaster is impossible if your people can’t communicate with each other or don’t know how. Consider not only how people will communicate but also with whom.
  • What devices will mission-critical teams use?
  • How will you communicate with your workforce if email and phones are offline?
  • Who should employees contact to confirm the status of the business or find out what’s happening?
  • Who will stakeholders need to contact to actually execute the disaster recovery plan?
7. Hard copies.
  • Even in today’s digitally transforming world, most businesses still have mountains of important paper documents stored in boxes and file cabinets.
  • You need to plan ahead for how you’ll protect, copy, recover and/or reproduce these documents should you suddenly lose access to them.
8. Reevaluate your plans and alter as needed.
  • Disaster preparedness is a work in progress. You need to constantly reevaluate your plan to ensure that you’re planning for all possible scenarios.
  • When creating a checklist for a disaster recovery plan, keep in mind that the information you include is likely to become outdated in just a few months. Your plan should outline a timeline for how often it’s updated and by whom.

Final thoughts

Most disaster recovery plans aren’t perfect. The list above is intended only as a rough guide on implementing the right business processes for disaster recovery. For additional information on setting up a disaster recovery plan for your organization’s network and data center, consider enlisting the help of professionals who understand the importance of business continuity. Reach out today to schedule a no-cost consultation about putting a disaster recovery plan in place today.