Data Backup & Recovery Blog

5 Steps to Developing a Simple Disaster Recovery Plan

Posted by Stephanie Aldrich on June 15, 2015

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Has your company experienced any server downtime or data loss in the last year? In the last few months? Do you know how much money that cost your bottom line? In 2014, global data loss and the resulting downtime caused $1.7 trillion in lost profit (as stated by eWeek). Even one hour of a data interruption can cause significant profit loss. A simple disaster recovery plan can help decrease losses and help a business recover quickly.

A disaster recovery plan lays out a process for recovering data and applications after any kind of disaster, ranging from a new employee accidentally deleting a folder to a blizzard wiping out half the city's electricity and all access to the office.

Following the five steps below can help you develop a disaster recovery plan for your business.

Step 1: Complete a business impact analysis.

The objective of a business impact analysis is to recognize what systems, programs, and tasks are crucial to run your business. What's more important to get back immediately, your customer management system or your website's images? Once you know these elements, you can prioritize them to be the first things to be recovered.

Step 2: Perform a risk assessment.

The risk assessment helps you to identify the external and internal risks that pose a threat to your company. The risks can be electronic, such as program failure or hacking, or they can be physical in nature, such as a flood or hurricane. Quantifying these threats help you in deciding how to backup your data, how to secure it, and what specific situations need to be outlined in your final disaster recovery plan.

Step 3: Determine your recovery time objective.

For each of the items you laid out in the business impact analysis as crucial to getting your business back up and running, how long do you have for each item before your company is put in danger? One day? One hour? The recovery time objective offers a look as to how long your company is able to go without a certain application or process. You must also calculate your company's maximum tolerable outage (the period that your company go be without data or applications before business is threatened). Then implement disaster recovery strategies that ensure the recovery time objective is less than the maximum tolerable outage.

Step 4: Brainstorm recovery strategies.

Now that you know what components are necessary for daily operations, you can develop various recovery strategies. For example, during the Northeast's most recent winter storm, many customer service centers were closed because power lines were down and employees were unable to get to the office. Many of these companies had plans in place to allow employees to answer calls and help customers from home. They also used social media and email to communicate to their customers about the situation and how they could be contacted. 

Step 5: Test your disaster recover strategies.

Testing your disaster recovery strategies through simulation offers confidence that your disaster recovery plan can effectively respond to possible risks. This saves your company money when disaster actually strikes.

A whopping 64% of companies have experienced data loss or downtime in the past year. Developing even a simple disaster recovery plan mitigate losses due to downtime and eliminate the threat of data loss.

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Topics: disaster recovery, data loss

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