disaster recovery planningThe survival of your enterprise depends heavily on an IT disaster recovery plan. Companies weather all sorts of difficulties, from a slow economy to staffing troubles to market fluctuations. A disaster is one thing that can put the breaks on hard; potentially no part of your organization will survive without a plan. While a comprehensive initiative set up beforehand can be effective, the days and months following an event can be a time of reflection and forward looking.

A hard look at your best practices involves several steps. Depending on how the plan worked, you might find your IT teams, management, and executives starting from scratch. Supposing you need to completely revamp the enterprise’s disaster recovery plan. It could be as tough as the initial migration to the cloud. There are a few best practices to follow to get the ball rolling before the next challenge emerges

  1. Start reviewing every detail of the previous disaster recovery plan. The basics can easily be arranged into a checklist. Get all stakeholders in your IT department to discuss elements such as data backups, server locations, telephone systems, and other network infrastructure. Address how prepared these systems are whether they are at the main facility or located off-site. Extended periods of no power are possible with any disaster, so it’s important to fill loopholes making your business vulnerable.
  2. After a disaster, you should thoroughly document what occurred as a result, but also before and during the event. An outline of backups performance and the quality of system reboots will help your teams conduct a full assessment. Ongoing health checks provide details on performance issues. Also, any documentation on these aspects should include the structure of communications with stakeholders, vendors, carriers, and customers.
  3. If your organization is like many, consolidation may have come into the picture recently. Redundancy, however, can save your business from failure, especially when a virtualized network allows employees, managers, and valuable IT staff to work from home or in another location. A multi-vendor approach to cloud, voice, and data infrastructure also helps to protect your business. If you haven’t implemented these, starting from scratch will likely make you reconsider.
  4. Incorporate all departments into the planning process. Sure, IT needs to be in there, plus management and accounting. Often left out is the human resources department. Revamping your plan to be most efficient may require a look at how employees will be fed, be transported to the office, or how they will access the network.
  5. Testing is what makes disaster recovery plans most effective. If you are indeed starting from scratch, do not leave anything out. Servers, power supplies, generators, and communication systems should be subject to test runs sooner than later. Any operational issues can be isolated and corrected with enough time to spare before the next storm or other disaster hits.

Depending on the type of disaster, the effects may be different. These consequences should be incorporated into a disaster recovery plan assessment as well. Hurricanes are much different from fires, for example. Regardless, do not become complacent at any stage because the very survival of your enterprise is at stake without a rebooted IT disaster recovery plan.