The justification for a disaster recovery plan (DR plan) is simple: if your business can be impacted financially by any interruption to operations, you need an ongoing, comprehensive DR plan in place. If you’re thinking, “This isn’t relevant to me,” consider what happens to your role in your company if business delays result in lost customers, lost revenue, and/or penalties incurred due to those delays.
Still not convinced? Perhaps as importantly, a solid recovery strategy helps protect your company’s brand and reputation in the eyes of your loyal customers and prospects.
Build Your Disaster Recovery Plan on These Four Elements
While every company’s plan is customized for their business and market, every DR plan should include four fundamental elements that ensure critical communications like notifications, statements, invoices, and more will be printed and mailed in the event of a disaster. Your DR plan must include:
- Identification of critical assets;
- Key recovery roles;
- Disaster communications;
- A recovery strategy that includes a backup provision for mailing critical documents.
Once you have these fundamental elements in place, you have to be ready to modify your DR plan when needed. Knowing that the only constant in today’s world is change, DR plans need to be reviewed and updated at least annually. Ideally, they should be updated whenever any change occurs to your equipment configuration and/or processes being used to create your critical communications documents. Remember, applications and technology are constantly being updated or acquired, and it’s critically important to update your DR plan when something changes about how you get things done.
The key advantage to having a DR plan in place is to know exactly what to do if disaster strikes and to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to discover that you forgot to update your DR plan when your plant floor is already underwater.
Five Key Evaluations of Your Disaster Recovery Plan
There are five key elements to address when tuning up your DR plan. Like so many things in life, the list starts with people and ends with testing. Your five-point tune-up should include an evaluation of:
- Key staffing roles;
- Critical vendors and suppliers;
- Data and network connectivity;
- Equipment and applications changes―hardware/software;
- Testing your DR plan.
A successful DR plan depends on people stepping into their assigned roles to manage the disaster recovery, from identifying the critical assets to implementing critical communications, and putting the backup solution in motion. If any of the key elements of the DR plan are different than formulated, your recovery may be delayed or even fail. And of course, the best and fastest way to make sure your DR plan works is to test it on a regular basis―it’s the most effective way to find out what changed or what needs to change.
A Disaster Recovery Plan is Never “One and Done”
It can be challenging to create a successful DR plan, and it’s tempting to consider it a “one and done” affair—to view potential changes as so minor that they wouldn’t affect the recovery process. This cavalier approach can quickly become “once and dunce.” Between scheduled DR tests with our clients, Mail-Gard frequently discovers that changes have occurred to their program requirements or critical applications that necessitate updates to their plan. That’s exactly the reason we encourage our clients to test their recovery plans on a regular basis.
The creation of a DR plan is an investment in your company’s future. It can affect your employees, your clients, your shareholders, and your company at large. And like any investment, it needs to be carefully maintained to retain its value. Dig deep into the details of these five key areas and their inter-dependence on one another so that business interruptions have minimal impact to your business.
Does your DR plan need a tune-up? Contact me here to schedule that service appointment today.
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