How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan Template Today

by | Apr 15, 2013 | Business Continuity

What is necessary for a disaster recovery plan template

As a small business owner, the importance of a disaster recovery plan template is immense.  If natural or man-made disaster strikes, you need to be prepared to insure the continuity of your business.  The better prepared you and your business are, the smoother the transition will be after disaster and the quicker your business will get back to operating as it was before.  Being a small business, this planning and preparation may seem daunting.  It may seem like more than you can handle when you consider finances, time, and resources.  But using things like templates and consultants can make this a very manageable task.

The following is a basic breakdown of what the structure and content of a disaster recovery plan template should look like:

You should identify the contact information for the various people you would like contacted after an incident.  This is initial data that should be made available on the front of the disaster recovery plan so that in the event of a crisis, valuable time is not wasted digging through documents for this information.

The second page of your disaster recovery plan template should be a revision control page.  It should provide information regarding your change management process.  This will make it easier to prepare, manage, and reinforce a management change if need be.

Next you should provide purpose and scope.  Give details and assumptions regarding both of these.  Also describe team descriptions, list of terms, and any additional background information that may be helpful.

You will also need an instructions page.  This will make it clear how and when to activate the plan, who should declare disaster, outage timeframes, and who should be notified.

Next, it is a good time to use standards documents as references for policy information.

An emergency response and management page should be inserted next to make it clear what situations should cause the plan and response procedures to be activated.

It should also be specified when to review and update this plan, and who should be in charge of doing so.

Checklists and flow charts are a good way to identify the steps that should be taken to address a situation if it occurs.  This will make it easy for everyone to see and understand what needs to be done.

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The disaster recovery plan template should also include the procedures that should be taken before declaring a disaster.  Information such as damage assessment data and first-hand reports needs to be gathered first.  Meetings will have to take place with key emergency team members before actually declaring the disaster.  Therefore, it needs to be clear who these people are and what information needs to be gathered.

After it is obvious that a disaster needs to be declared, there has to be a course of action.  This cannot be available in the plan in detail simply because every disaster is different.  But the company leadership should set a loose guideline to follow, including basic things, such as when to initiate a damage assessment.

Information regarding the business recovery phase also should be within the plan.  Instructions on relocating, recovering operations, and related activities should be addressed here.

Lastly comes detailed appendixes.  This should be reviewed and updated frequently and should include lists and contact details on all primary and alternate vendors, emergency teams, alternate work space locations, and other relevant information.

Despite how it may appear, the process of creating a disaster recovery plan template is not very difficult.  As long as you are detailed, provide step-by-step information, and review and update the policies frequently, this plan could greatly benefit your business and smooth out some of the bumps that a disaster would most likely cause.  For more information to help you in running your small business, please contact us.  We’d be happy to do what we can to help.

Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.

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