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Key Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” In the case of disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC), this statement certainly holds true. While we always hope for the best, there are some events that are just out of our control. Whether you’re in the beginning stages of creating your DR plan or in the testing process, keep these key elements in mind.

Communication. Many of us depend on our smartphones to stay in contact with our colleagues – but what if cell phone towers are down? Do you have a backup form of communication and know how to get in touch with the right people? Having an emergency communications plan and a team designated to access the proper recovery components is essential to ensuring the lines of communication are open as quickly as possible after a disaster. The plan should include a list of emergency contact information for all employees and critical vendors. Make sure the emergency contact list is frequently updated and create backup hard copies to store at your offices, home and DR site to ensure it is always accessible.

Security. When faced with a disaster of any sort, security can often take the back burner as employees are scrambling to get the business up and running. Having downtime can result in financial loss, but having a security breach on top can be even more devastating to a company’s bottom line. In fact, companies in highly regulated industries such as financial and healthcare, are bound by regulatory security requirements even in emergency situations. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the same security controls in place in your primary infrastructure are also in your DR environment. It’s also important that firewalls and antivirus are regularly updated.

Testing. According to the “Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey,” more than 65% of the companies who test their DR/BC plans do not pass their own tests. This just goes to show the importance of testing to ensure all of the time and resources spent creating the perfect plan will not go to waste. In my experience, there is really only one sure-fire way to test out a DR plan and that is to turn everything off and switch completely to your DR environment. Schedule your test during the least crucial time of day and week so any impact is minimized. Making your test as live-action and realistic as possible is the best way to ensure all of your bases are covered. At Immedion, we create mock up scenarios and conduct live action testing to ensure our procedures are in place and our staff are fully equipped with the knowledge they need. Lastly, make sure to test your plan on a regular basis to guarantee that all of your information is current.

Do you feel your company is fully prepared in the event of a disaster? As we continue throughout 2015, make sure your plans and communication methods are ready to go!

Don’t forget to check out our disaster recovery checklist – a great tool to verify that your DR location has everything you’re looking for.

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