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Disaster Recovery Planning Goals and Objectives

Disaster Recovery Planning: Make It Measurable

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Disaster recovery planning is the process of creating a document that details how your business will recover from a catastrophic event. Many businesses take the time to create a disaster recovery plan and then it sits on a shelf collecting dust. Nobody every reviews it to make sure it meets the goals of the company and it will be successful if implemented.

Here are six goals and objectives to you can use to make sure your disaster recovery plan will be successful.

1. Reduce Overall Risk

The main goal of any disaster recovery plan is to reduce the overall risk to the company. Look carefully at the plan and ask the question "Is there anything missing that would prevent the business from restarting rapidly?" In the event of a disaster, your biggest enemy is time. The plan must be concise and yet comprehensive. Look for holes that will jeopardize the successful implementation of your disaster recovery plan.

2. Maintain and Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Many plans are written and few are ever updated. Even fewer are ever tested. A disaster recovery plan that was written five years ago when your business was half the size is not going to allow a rapid recovery. Review the plan every year to insure new aspects of the business are covered. Test the plan at least every two years. Pick a Saturday and pretend that you have to bring back the office operations in less than 24 hours. You don't have to physically do it, but sitting around a table offsite without any access to any resources in the office can shed a lot of light on your disaster recovery plan's inadequacies.

3. Alleviate Owner/Investor Concerns

Once developed and tested, you should present your disaster recovery plan to the owners and/or board of directors. Record any and all feedback and make sure it is addressed in the revised plan. If they are more apprehensive after you present your disaster recovery plan, you need to revisit each and every item before you present it again.

4. Restore Day-To-Day Operations

The bottom line is "Can your disaster recovery plan restore the day-to-day operations in a reasonable time?" Your customers will be understanding and sympathetic, if you ever experience a disaster. But they will not wait forever for you to get your feet back on the ground. Operations must be restored quickly before customers start leaving for the competition.

5. Comply With Regulations

If your business is in a regulated industry (healthcare, food, education, etc.) make sure your disaster recovery plan takes into consideration all government regulations. Just because you are operating out of a temporary office, does not exempt your business from regulations.

6. Rapid Response

Any disaster recovery plan must be written and developed with the goal of responding rapidly to any disaster. Time is your biggest enemy after disaster strikes. Make sure a copy of the disaster recovery plan is stored off site (electronically or on paper) and can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An emergency contact list with multiple phone numbers for each manager must be accessible at any time of the day or night.

Next Step: How to Write a Disaster Recovery Plan

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