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8 Steps to a Killer Disaster Recovery Plan (Step 4 of 8)

When most people think about disaster, they think about Flood, Fire, Tornado, and the like. However, in today’s technology climate, a potential “disaster” can lurk in the mundane, everyday tasks. It could be a simple as an employee accidentally deleting a critical file or unknowingly unleashing a virus on your network, to a power surge destroying a piece of hardware. No matter what the cause, every business will experience outages and downtime – they key is having a solution in place to ensure that you can continue operations with no (or minimal) impact to the bottom line.

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To ensure that your systems, data and personnel are protected and your business can continue to operate in the event of an actual emergency or disaster, use the following guidelines to create a disaster plan that will help you quickly recover. This is the 3nd installment of the 8 steps to a Killer Disaster Recovery Plan. If you missed the first two installments, you can find them here:

Step 1 of 8 – Inventory all your hardware and software..
Step 2 of 8 – Define Your Tolerance for Downtime and Data Loss..
Step 3 of 8 – Determine & Document Who’s Responsible for What..

Step 4. Create a communication plan

tincan“Perhaps one of the more overlooked components of a disaster recovery plan is having a good communication plan,” says Mike Genardi, solutions architect, Computer Design & Integration. “In the event a disaster strikes, how are you going to communicate with your employees? Do your employees know how to access the systems they need to perform their job duties during a DR event?

“Many times the main communication platforms (phone and email) may be affected and alternative methods of contacting your employees will be needed,” he explains. “A good communication plan will account for initial communications at the onset of a disaster as well as ongoing updates to keep staff informed throughout the event.”

Communication is critical when responding to and recovering from any emergency, crisis event or disaster. So, having a clear communications strategy is essential. Effective and reliable methods for communicating with employees, vendors, suppliers and customers in a timely manner are necessary beyond initial notification of an emergency. Having a written process in place to reference ensures efficient action post-disaster and alignment between organizations, employees and partners.

A disaster recovery plan must also include a statement that can be published on your company’s website and social media platforms in the event of an emergency. You should also be prepared to give your customers timely status updates on what they can expect from your business and when. If your customers understand that you are aware of the situation, you are adequately prepared and working to take care of it in a timely manner, they will feel much better.

Step 5 of 8 – Let Employees Know Where to go in Case of Emergency..
Step 6 of 8 – Make sure your service-level agreements (SLAs) include disasters/emergencies..
Step 7 of 8 – Include how to handle sensitive information.
Step 8 of 8 – Test your plan regularly.