Protect Your Business With This Disaster Recovery Plan Template

IT-Disaster-Recovery-Plan-Template

If you’re like many businesses, chances are you’re in it for the long haul. 

However, your plans may be thwarted by any number of factors. 

In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests that 25 percent of businesses—that’s 1 in 4—don’t reopen after experiencing a disaster. 

They also urge businesses to enact a plan to protect both employees and assets to avoid disrupting the organization’s operations. 

That’s where drafting a disaster recovery plan can help your business survive during a crisis scenario. 



What Is Disaster Recovery? 

Disaster recovery refers to an organization’s ability to respond to any event that negatively impacts business operations. 

Examples of disasters include: 

  • Natural disasters, such as floods, fires, tornados, earthquakes, and lightning strikes
  • Cyber attacks, such a phishing or malware attack
  • Equipment failures, such as a power failure
  • Non-IT threats, such as an active shooter or plane crash

All of these types of disasters—and more—could potentially destroy or erase data or equipment that your business needs to function. 

That’s why it’s imperative that you prepare for a multitude of catastrophic events by creating and regularly auditing disaster recovery procedures for your organization. 



What’s In A Disaster Recovery Plan?

The following steps are must-haves when it comes to making an outline of disaster recovery practices. 

 

Business Priority Assessment & Their Impact

Your disaster recovery plan should identify which systems, applications, and data are a priority in recovery.

For example, if there's a network or specific piece of technology (like a credit card system) that is critical to operating your business, that would take precedence in a recovery process. 

There may be other systems or technology that are important, but not essential—those matters can be dealt with once the essential technology is back up and running. 

During an emergency, you want to be able to act quickly. 

You can do this by creating a business impact matrix that details each priority’s:

  1. Critical nature to the business
  2. Impact on its loss to the business 
  3. System applications, networks, and data that would be affected by that priority. 
  4. Recovery time objective (RTO) - How long it should take to restore processes to an acceptable service level
  5. Recovery point objective (RPO) - The maximum amount of data that can be lost 
  6. Methods of protection - i.e., what safeguards should be in place to protect the information or equipment. 

Determining priority items ahead of time allows you to focus on the order of restoration should the worst happen.



Risk Assessment

Next, you’ll want to identify any factors that put your business, systems, and processes at risk. 

These can range from:

  1. Physical safeguards, such as locks, biometric scanners, and security cameras.
  2. Access control, like preventing people or data from interacting with certain applications, systems, or data. 
  3. Physical location, such as whether your business or its employees are in a location that’s susceptible to natural disasters like floods or tornados. 

By identifying and assessing risk, you should be able to account for that risk in your disaster recovery plan. 

 

Emergency Contacts & Contact Information

In the event of a disaster, a listing of emergency contacts should be created, as well as multiple methods of how to contact those people. 

This component should address each person’s roles and responsibilities following a disaster. 

Be sure to also plan for how to communicate with various audiences, including employees and other internal stakeholders, external contacts, customers, vendors, and anyone else who’s connected to your business. 

 

Recovery Processes

Finally, each priority you include for your business should feature a recovery process. 

Some of the items each recovery process should include are: 

  1. How a system, application, or datasets are monitored, and how alerts are distributed related to those.
  2. Who the contact person is for each step in the recovery process.
  3. Remediation steps to take if the process should fail.
  4. What a successful recovery process should look like to identify whether that process worked. 
  5. How often recovery processes should be tested to ensure that it will work in case of emergency, as cyberthreats evolve frequently and disaster can strike at any time. 

Overall, the steps laid out here provide a solid foundation for creating your own disaster recovery plan.

Please modify and adjust according to your specific business. 

To help you get started, we’ve created your very own basic disaster recovery plan template

This example plan helps you identify priorities for your business and how to address them in your disaster recovery strategy. 

Integrity specializes in creating disaster recovery plans for businesses, including regulated healthcare and financial services entities. Learn more about what we offer and what it’s like to work with us here.