February 3, 2023

Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist: What Every Business Needs To Know

Losing important data can become a company's worst nightmare, and with the increase in cyberattacks, it's not an uncommon reality.

If your business depends on technology to function, then you need to have a disaster recovery plan in place. A disaster recovery plan is a document that outlines how a business will continue to operate in the event of a major disaster.

The plan should include a checklist of critical systems and processes that need to be in place in order for the business to continue to function.

In this article, we will provide a disaster recovery plan checklist that every business should have.

Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist

This checklist highlights some of the most important and general things most plans should have. However, checklist items can and will likely vary from business to business.

1. Do An Inventory Check (Software and Hardware)

Any disaster recovery plan must take a comprehensive inventory of all the hardware and software on the system. This includes identifying all IT assets and classifying them according to importance. If a company does not have a complete record of all its assets, it will be difficult to safeguard them in a disaster situation.

Three ways to classify inventory:

  • Critical: Inventory your business can not operate without
  • Important: Inventory that is used frequently but not every day
  • Not Important: Inventory used less frequently

2. Assess Equipment Requirements

After creating an inventory of your hardware and software, the next step is identifying equipment requirements. For example, you might discover that you require backup software with a higher storage capacity or that you require the installation of additional servers to provide support for various workloads.

Determine what disaster mitigation and recovery plans already exist and where you might be able to fill gaps by adding some extra equipment to your data center.

3. Establish Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

Determining RTO and a recovery point objective RPO is crucial. The RPO determines how frequently data is backed up as well as the amount of data that could potentially be lost in a disaster due to not having been backed up. In contrast, the RTO essentially defines the maximum amount of time that it should take to recover from a disaster.

4. Identify Risks and Business Assessment

A risk assessment and a business impact analysis should be carried out as you work to create a

disaster recovery plan. The purpose is to identify potential threats to your organization's ability to

conduct business and quantify those threats according to their likelihood of happening and their

potential severity.

For instance, natural disasters and fires can be dire circumstances that could be detrimental to the organization. Therefore, when making plans, these need to be considered, apart from other potential risks.

5. Determine Team Roles and Responsibilities

Only an organization's well-prepared disaster recovery team can successfully implement a good disaster recovery plan. So it's essential to establish the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team. This is to ensure that every disaster recovery team member knows exactly what is required of them in an emergency.

6. Describe Prevention and Mitigation In Detail

A plan that has the potential to prevent disaster is the best one. Businesses should always look for ways to stop disasters from having a major impact before they happen. For example, automated fire suppression systems could mean the difference between a small fire and a large fire that destroys the data center. Similarly, having comprehensive cyber security protection can help prevent disastrous attacks before they happen.

7. Choose Disaster Recovery Sites

If a disaster affects an organization's primary data center, a company should have alternative sites selected where these assets should be moved. Typically there should be different types of sites set up for different purposes. Hot sites are sites that have all up-to-date customer information where in operations can easily continue as usual. Cold sites may be used to access stored data and information. However, they may not be immediately operational.

8. Outline and Test Response Procedures

This is an essential element of a disaster recovery plan. Highlighting procedures in clear and easy-to-follow language will help ensure each person can fulfill their roles with minimal direction in the event of an emergency. It's also very important for employees to go through mock drills of how to respond in the event of an incident; if they don't do this, they might become overwhelmed by the pressure of attempting to recover from a disaster.

9. Create a Crisis Communication Plan

No matter the size of your business, you must have a plan in place for informing personnel, partners, and clients of any disaster. Customers and the media will feel much better about how you're handling the situation if you keep them updated on the data outage or breach.

Larger businesses ought to prepare a crisis management media kit for journalists and clients. Include statements that your public relations team can post on your website and social media platforms, with information on the estimated timeframe for resuming normalcy.

Get Disaster Recovery Planning Assistance From 1Fort

Disasters can strike at any time. Whether a natural disaster or cyberattack, a disaster recovery plan helps companies bounce back much faster and mitigate major loss or damage. And knowing the specific steps to take in creating this plan are crucial.

We've outlined the most important things. However, creating a solid plan can still be a difficult task. And with something as important to your business's disaster recovery plan, you don't want to take any chances of getting it wrong.

That's where 1Fort can help you. With pre-authored policies and templates that are already auditor-approved, we can help you develop a disaster relief plan for your company or your client that covers all the bases.

Get in touch and schedule a free 15-minute demo to learn more today!