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Creating Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Your company's disaster recovery plan is one of the most important (if not the most important) documents you will have on file at your organization. This is the document your entire organization will turn to for instruction, guidance, and protocol in the event of a serious crisis, particularly one that could cause major disruptions to the day-to-day functions of your organization, or could have a marked effect on your company's ability to maintain productivity. This document will help your organization recover faster and can even help you avoid loss of revenue.

Even in the face if its importance, many organizations are tempted to procrastinate creating their disaster recovery plan because the process can feel a bit overwhelming. It is for this very reason that we have provided a free template to assist you in the creation of your disaster recovery plan. Our template covers a range of important topics that your organization will need to consider when creating your disaster recovery plan (also sometimes call a business continuity plan).

Our template is designed to cover everything form the initial impact a catastrophe can have on a business to the steps that will need to be taken to return your organization to its normal state of operation. We have provided places for you to take inventories of your personnel, your software, and your equipment. We have also provided space for you to plan how you will back-up your systems, select back-up locations, and plan for problems should something happen to the structure of your building. Finally we have sheet for you to make clear the chain of command that should be followed in the event of a disaster. Each of these elements has been included to help ensure a rapid recovery of your business and the quickest possible return to normalcy.
The step-by-step process outlined in the template will take you through the necessary elements of disaster recovery planning. It can help you create not only a recovery plan, but also a chain of accountability among the people of your organization that participate in the disaster recovery and emergency planning.

Each business and its specific needs are unique. No "one size all" disaster recovery plan would be adequate. That is why this template has been created with a sufficiently flexible format. There is enough structure to keep you focused and grounded, while still maintaining enough malleability to allow you to modify the plan and fit it to your organization's particular needs. Using this easy and manageable template, you will be able to harness information from some of the industry's most experienced IT experts and integrate it with the expertise and insights of your own staff.

Impact and Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is one of the key components of disaster recovery planning. In order to create the most effective plan for recovering after a calamity, an organization must first consider what the potential disasters are that they could feasibly encounter, and how each of these might impact their business continuity.
To make their efforts the most efficacious, executives and board members should consider every possible scenario when analyzing the potential risks their organization might face. This means that all potential risks should be taken into account, from somewhat mundane hazards like in-house power failures to extremely perilous events like acts of war or terrorist attacks. As the purpose of a disaster recovery plan is to outline what actions will be taken in the event that an organization does experience disaster, these crises should not only be contemplated, but their potential impacts must be evaluated as well as what steps will be taken to overcome the impact if one's disaster recovery plan is going to truly be effective and practical.

In the process of disaster recovery, the primary function of risk assessment is to predetermine as many types of disasters as possible that an organization may encounter, and then to figure out how the organization will deal with each crisis if it occurs.

Unfortunately, disaster recovery assessments can sometimes become very complex. In order to alleviate some of the confusion and to assist you with this task, we have provided a free booklet and disaster recovery template to guide you and help get your organization's analysis started. Below we have included a brief list of some of the disruptive events that could have an affect on your normal operations and that should be taken into consideration when preparing your disaster recovery plan.

Possible crises and disasters for consideration:

• Hard drive meltdowns
• Building fires
• Floods
• Power failures
• Internet failures
• Data line failures
• Earthquakes
• Epidemic illness, which would cause a sudden and significant decrease in staffing, including those employees who hold vitally important positions
• Transport shut-downs due to weather, strike, or more serious events (again could cause serious staffing problems)
• Terrorist attacks
• Acts of war

It's important to keep in mind that this list of possible disasters is far from exhaustive and does not include many of the specialized concerns your particular organization may need to consider and/or include in its disaster recovery plan. For example, if yours is a smaller corporation, lesser events can have a greater impact on staffing, or who is on premises with the necessary knowledge to perform certain tasks, etc.


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