How to Create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

How to Create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Threatening IT issues can happen when your company least expects it, and although these issues may not be statistically likely to occur, it doesn’t mean you’re protected indefinitely. In a world that’s increasingly driven by impressive technology stacks, your business must have a robust IT disaster recovery plan if it hopes to survive a physical or cybernetic catastrophe.

We explain why your company needs to make such a plan a top priority, give you tips for creating your program, and show how an outsourced IT partner can help. 

What is an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

It’s right there in the name: a comprehensive system your business can quickly implement should any sort of accident hurt the company to the point that it affects business continuity. It could come in the form of a weather or geological event like a hurricane or earthquake. It could also be a technological issue — including both simple user error or a coordinated cyber attack.

Any worthwhile disaster recovery plan contains specific contingencies so your company can get things back up and running with minimal impact to operations, sales, and workflows. Without it, your business could lose money and suffer the release of confidential information.

What are the Benefits of an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

The most obvious perk is the ability to get your business up and running again if something unexpected happens. Additionally, we’re also fans of how creating such a system can positively impact your day-to-day processes, including: 

  • Lower overall risks by being prepared
  • Less downtime in a disaster
  • Improved asset management because you know where everything is
  • Reduced concerns from leadership and investors about potential harm if a problem does occur
  • Improved operational efficiency because you have a plan in place

Planning and preparation will only help your company, even if you never experience a disaster.

The 5 Core Objectives of Any Effective IT Disaster Recovery Plan

While the Internet contains many helpful templates for creating a solid plan, the details will always require tweaking to meet your company’s needs. To start, we encourage leaders to focus on the five following items when crafting your procedures:

  1. Your Equipment
  2. Your Data
  3. Your Employees
  4. Your Customers
  5. Your Communication

Each item on our list covers a fundamental aspect of your business to help you prepare for a worst-case scenario.

1. Emphasize Your Equipment

As we mentioned earlier, businesses engage in more robust technology than ever before to perform the most basic functions. Thus, you must specifically account for what could happen to your technology and how you’ll both protect and restore it. Your preparations should account for, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Computers
  • Servers
  • Routers
  • Copiers
  • Audio-video equipment
  • Industry-specific machinery and hardware
  • Your physical offices

The rule of thumb is: If you paid money for it and need it to keep operating successfully to keep your business running, you should have a plan for getting it operational again in the event something goes wrong.

2. Dote on Your Data

Your business creates and receives an immense amount of data, from customer details and transaction receipts to operational analyses, land survey results, and everything in between. Hopefully, you already store this information safely, but you must develop backups and multiple provisions for those digital treasures. We recommend measures such as:

  • Onsite servers
  • Offsite servers
  • Cloud computing

What matters is that you take care of your data, both for your business’s security and the safety of your employees and customers. 

3. Pay Attention to Your People

Your employees will also need care during a disaster, even as they help restore the business to working order. Depending on the severity of the situation, the people who work for you might be hindered, out of touch, or worried about their family. Your plan should account for circumstances such as:

  • Health
  • Abilities
  • Access
  • Influence

Leaders should be intentional about what they can do and how they can do it, as no one employee will have the same circumstances.

4. Concentrate on Your Customers

A s a functioning business, you have clients for your products, goods, and services. Your plans for recovering from a disaster depends upon the type of disaster and what your customers purchase from you. 

For example, you operate a shoe store that trades in high-end sneakers:

  • If your company experienced a targeted cyberattack that takes down your e-commerce website, your customers will want the site up and running again so they can keep shopping.
  • If a storm or earthquake hit your entire region, your customers need to know what happened, as it might take time to rebuild the physical and technological infrastructure of the area.

By planning your recovery with your audience as a critical factor, you can more effectively prioritize the appropriate steps of action.

5. Talk with Transparency

Recovering from a disaster — no matter how minor — requires dedicated attention and a deft touch. Everyone will want to know what happened and what you will do next, from management, employees, and investors to partners, customers, and the media. Thus, you must speak frankly and openly about the situation. Clear communication is critical.

We recommend: 

  • Choose a single spokesperson
  • Stick to the script
  • Provide resources
  • Share specific knowledge
  • Refrain from conjecture

Your goal should be sharing important details about the past, present, and future of the situation. If you know what’s going on, then tell people. While you don’t have to divulge your operations’ inner workings, you should develop defined protocols about who knows what about your IT infrastructure and when your company will recover from its technological trauma.

A True IT Outsourcing Partner Can Help You Create a Disaster Recovery Plan

Despite all of the advances, tips, tools, and tricks available today, most people aren’t tech wizards. Even if you have an office filled with digital natives, it doesn’t mean they are certified IT gurus who can help in an emergency. Moreover, that might not be their job, and you didn’t start your company to strategize the best plans for repairing your company during a technology crisis.

You should partner with an experienced IT outsourcing company to address these concerns. They have the experience and know-how to understand your company’s actual needs and create a customized plan tailored to your specific situation. In addition, they’ll work alongside you in the midst of whatever problem you might face helping you protect your systems, data, employees, and customers. Their job is to take care of your technology concerns, no matter how large or small the issue.

If you’re looking for an outsourced IT company that believes in becoming a trusted member of your team, look no further than EAG 1Source. We have the scalable services, technical knowledge, and business acumen to exceed your IT and back-office administrative needs, in addition to creating a robust IT Disaster Recovery Plan for your business. Contact us today to learn more!

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