How To Make A Disaster Recovery Plan For Your SMB

Woman works on a notepad on the disaster recovery plan.

Written by: Jay H.

Ninety-three percent of companies without a disaster recovery plan who suffer a disaster go out of business within one year. Despite this grave statistic, seventy-five percent of companies don’t have any disaster recovery objective in place. If your firm is one of many SMBs without a plan in place, it’s time to develop your own. Learn how to make a disaster recovery plan for your SMB.

What Is A Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) essentially describes how to quickly and effectively restore critical business operations after an incident. Large organizations invest millions of dollars into their DRPs, while small businesses may have a simple plan in place. Regardless of the firm’s size, every business needs a disaster recovery plan to recover after a disaster – or they risk becoming a statistic.

Types of Disasters

When drafting your DRP, prepare for the following three broad disaster types:

Human-Caused Disasters

Human-caused disasters can range from acts of malefactors, such as theft, hacking, ransomware, and other malware. On the contrary, mistakes also account for human-caused disasters. For instance, your employee could accidentally delete business-critical data. Planning for human-caused disasters is difficult because they are the most unpredictable of the three.

Natural Disasters

Fires, floods, earthquakes, and pandemics can devastate your organization. Depending on your geographic location, the occurrence of some natural disasters is more probable than others, so be sure to plan for the most appropriate natural disasters. Here on the West Coast, we are more prone to earthquakes and wildfires. However, those in the Prairies may plan for tornadoes, for example.

Technological Disasters

Unfortunately, technology fails, hard drives die, power outages occur, and servers go offline. Take into account the systems, structures, and equipment your organization relies on to conduct business when planning your DRP.

Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan

Now that you know what disasters to plan for, it’s time to draft your disaster recovery plan. Here’s how to create a disaster recovery plan for your SMB:

1. Identify your assets

Map out your business-critical assets, such as data, equipment, software, and hardware. Then, divide the assets into high, medium, and low impact tiers based on how mission-critical each one is.

2. Define recovery objectives

Recovery objectives set out to resume operations within tolerable levels. There are two metrics of recovery objectives: recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).

RPO is the maximum acceptable downtime a business can withstand before resulting in significant damage to the company. RTO is the time it takes to recover assets after a disaster. Set the RTO/RPO for each asset across the three tiers.

3. Allocate roles and responsibilities

Every member of your organization should play a role in your DRP.  Allocate responsibilities amongst your staff members for key roles, such as declaring disasters, notifying customers, and contacting vendors. Also, identify external parties to contact in case of a disaster, such as a cybersecurity firm that can work alongside your organization and aid disaster recovery.

4. Make a communication plan

A communication plan details how to notify employees of a disaster and provide updates. If phone and email are unavailable, it is essential to have contingency channels in place, such as personal phone numbers.

5. Find a disaster recovery solution

You need a disaster recovery solution that meets or exceeds your objectives. Consider working with a reputable IT consulting firm such as Design2Web to develop a comprehensive disaster recovery solution for your business.

6. Test and refine your DRP

Testing your DRP not only ensures that it works but also prepares everyone involved. You can test it through various means, such as having an expert review it, getting feedback from your team, or running through mock disasters. Also, the DRP will need refinements as your business grows and changes, so adjust accordingly.

Be Proactive Instead of Reactive

Disaster can strike at any moment, so prepare your business. The good news is that ninety-six percent of businesses with a DRP in place recover after the incident. Consider working with a trusted IT consulting firm to help develop your business’s disaster recovery plan.

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