Business Disaster Recovery Plans
Business disaster. We all dread it. We all hope it does not happen to us. Disasters of any kind and traumatic events. Unfortunately, in life we do not often get to choose what happens. But we do get to choose how to respond.
This is one of the most important aspects of dealing with events in anyone’s life that are negative. Your response and ability to get back on your feet and keep going. It may be tough. It may be extra tough. However, over time you will slowly be able to get back on your feet if you take it just one day at a time.
Business disaster can be incredibly stressful. Depending on the type of person you are, your ability to control and manage your emotions and you ability to seek help from others will determine whether or not you find it possible to keep going or to decide you need a break. Whatever choice you make, if you prepare as much as you can now for any potential disaster then you are creating an environment that could potentially be the difference between persisting and succeeding again or giving up totally. The choice is yours.
Definition of Business Disaster Recovery Plans
So what exactly is a Disaster Recovery Plan? If you look online, it has been abbreviated to DRP. So now you can call it your DRP. Check out the definition below from Wikipedia.
What do you need to prepare for?
Take a look around the world via the internet any day and you will see significant events that dramatically impact the lives of people. A disaster may come out of nowhere. It may be an event such as a cyclone or hurricane or a pandemic similar to COVID-19. These events are typically what have occurred in recent times and nobody could have predicted them and the impacts they have had on the economy either local or global.
So as a business owner the best thing you can possibly do is consider a variety of events that may occur and plan for a response to these events should they actually happen.
From major weather events, pandemics, economy downturns, fire, embezzlement, flood or building destruction, there are many different types of disasters that you could consider and plan for in your Disaster Recovery Plan.
What Should be in Your Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan is a document that identifies procedures that should be taken should a disaster occur. It addresses a lot of aspects of your business and specifically would identify particular procedures depending on your business type, location, size and processes.
Protecting and online business is obviously a lot different to protecting a car wash business. Your disaster recovery plan needs to be specific to your type of business and ensure that the procedures identified in it are actually realistic.
Business details, emergency contacts, business partners and suppliers are all items that should be listed in your plan. Asset registers, employee’s next of kin details and contacts for insurance are also items that need to be identified in a disaster recovery plan.
Important Items of a Disaster Recovery Plan
Some things are more important in your plan than others. These critical business functions and processes and functions of the business that allow it to operate and produce a business or service. Without these functions the business ceases to operate or turn a profit. Shortly after it goes into liquidation depending on the amount of cash in the business.
In any disaster recovery plan, these particular items should be a priority and if you don’t think about anything else, at least take these into account and plan for the future regarding these items. Let’s talk about an example regarding this.
For example, if you business is a coffee shop and it catches fire one night, what have you got left in the morning to operate the business and keep the doors open?
Obviously if the damage is beyond repair or the shop is gutted, then finding a new place to lease immediately might be an option. Or getting the insurers in immediately is another option.
It really depends on the situation. However, a critical function is to have a space to operate from and facilities to provide coffee with.
You can see that the critical functions are the things that allow you to operate and turn a profit. So consideration of a disaster will get you thinking of alternatives should a disaster impact your business.
Where to find disaster recovery plan templates
Obviously, the internet is a great place to start. There are many options available to purchase or create disaster recovery plans online. The following list below are the top 5 we found online with number 1 being our own disaster recovery plan template that we sell on Digital Documents Direct.
The other 4 disaster recovery plans that you may also want to consider, however we think ours is great without being biased. So let’s get started and have a look at the top 5 places to find a disaster recovery plan template.
Disaster Recovery Plan Template Number 1
At Digital Documents Direct, we have a disaster recovery plan template that provides you with an opportunity to identify any potential disasters that could possibly affect your business. This template is created in MS Word and is easy to download and use. Check it out at the link below.
Disaster Recovery Plan Template Number 2
Smartsheet has a number of disaster recovery plans available for download. These are free and include templates such as School Disaster Management Plan Template, Disaster Management Plan Template and Simple Disaster Recovery Plan for Small Businesses.
However, these templates are fairly basic and really don’t offer a huge amount of information. However they are helpful. Check out their website if you get time.
Disaster Recovery Plan Template Number 3
Ontrack offers a Disaster Recovery Plan also. This template is free and is produced in MS Word and available for download from their website.
This however is a disaster recovery plan for IT services. If you need a DRP for small business then this is not going to be suitable. Check it out below and on their website.
Below is what the template looks like. A well formatted MS Word document with plenty of information for an IT Disaster Recovery Plan.
You can click through to the template directly if you use the link above.
Disaster Recovery Plan Template Number 4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a fantastic Disaster Recovery Plan. However, these guys are true professionals and have called it a Business Continuity Plan. Now that sounds good.
Certainly very comprehensive for such a large organization,, you can see this plan is detailed and everything has been thought of. However, imagine having to read all that if a disaster strikes? Check it out below and visit their website to have a look. You will certainly get some ideas for your small business.
Disaster Recovery Plan Template Number 5
TemplateLab has a ton of disaster recovery plans to choose from. They also have a ton of ads to click on. There are certainly a few to consider however you may become overwhelmed by the amount of information. However, take a look at their website.
Keep it Simple and Practical
So there you go. 5 easy to use places you can find a Disaster Recovery Plan Template. Depending on what you want it for, there are plenty of places to choose from.
Often the problem I find is there is way too much information. So the best thing you can do is keep it simple and practical. We have tried to keep our templates as simple as possible but 100% relevant to the task required. If they are not simple, no one will use them.
Check out this video on how to make a Disaster Recovery Plan by Jennifer Bridges, PMP from Project Management Videos. Very helpful and cool.
An abundance of information usually overwhelms. Losing sight of the aim of a document will guarantee that the document doesn’t actually get used and in the end is unhelpful.
So, we believe keeping it as simple and practical as possible is the best way to ensure your plan suits its purpose.
Consider What is Required
Let’s take a look at some of the detail often found in a Disaster Recovery Plan.
Firstly, it is good to have an overview of the organization and plan. This is simple enough and is like an introduction. Don’t waffle on. Just keep it straight to the point.
Hazards and Risks
Identification of risks is certainly something you want to include in the plan. If you take the time to think about all the risks to of interruption to your business this will prepare not only your business but your mind and emotional state should any of them occur.
This is important as often disasters are incredibly hard on people and if you have thought this trough previously, then you are prepared and have a better chance of getting through it.
You can create a list of potential risks and rate them based on their severity. For example this may include High Risk Priority Hazards (With Critical Or Catastrophic Impact), Moderate Risk Priority Hazards (With Marginal Or Critical Impact) or Low Risk Priority Hazards (With Negligible Impact).
Business Continuity And Recovery Planning Team
Depending on the size of your business having a dedicated team to spring into action should any disaster occur is going to be good preparation for your business.
Similar to a fire warden they should be trained and know exactly what to do should any event occur. Having a Fire Safety and Emergency Action Plan to refer to would also be beneficial.
Critical Assets and Critical Operations
These parts of your business are essential for it to operate. Identifying these should be relatively easy. List them out and think about what would be required to keep this component of your business operating should a disaster occur.
Technology is a huge one for most businesses. Having suitable backups and alternative options for replicating your data is standard practice in any business. Ensure your IT team and performing this role correctly as data is very hard to replace should you lose it all.
The items above are just some of the things you should think about that need to go in your Disaster Recovery Plan. If you are creating one for your small business it doesn’t need to be massive. It just needs to be relevant and suitable according to the scope and size of your business.
What about You?
Got any comments regarding a disaster recovery plan? Have you tried to create one yourself? Have you had to use one? It would be fantastic to hear from you if you have.
Leave a comment below and get the discussion happening.