5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plan

Strong businesses have strong disaster recovery plans. Want to improve your business’s ability to avoid the unexpected? Here are 5 easy tips you can implement today to improve your business’s disaster recovery plan for better business continuity. Read on to learn how our team thinks about business continuity.

5) Avoid Process Driven Disaster Recovery Plans

One of the biggest problems with modern disaster recovery plans is that they’re too process driven: they often cover situations like “power failure” or “fire” or even “flu pandemic”. These process-driven plans are perfect for dealing with power failures, fires, and flu pandemics that match the exact same parameters listed in the recovery plan.

Unfortunately, most real-world disasters will not match these exact parameters. When you design your entire recovery plan around a certain situation, it handcuffs you to that situation.

A better idea is to concentrate on generic threats and situations. Design your recovery plans, for example, around things like:

  • Building being unusable
  • Lack of power
  • Lack of telecommunications
  • Significant portion of staff being unavailable

Then, when disaster strikes, you can tweak the minor details of your plan on-the-fly instead of having to worry about adjusting foundational aspects of the plan.

4) Media Planning Strategies

In today’s age of social media scrutiny, media planning strategies have never been more important for good disaster recovery.

We’ve all seen companies making inappropriate tweets during times of disaster. Don’t be one of those companies. Some media planning strategies include:

-Teaching employees to avoid talking to any media

-Having one qualified company spokesperson exclusively deal with the media (avoid having multiple people in the company saying different things)

-Train social media staff to avoid certain topics, responses, and other areas that could potentially generate controversy

Let’s say you’re a dating website that experiences a data leak. Thousands of customer emails are leaked onto the internet. It’s a disaster – but you have a strong plan in place. The emails are encrypted and the servers are back online and protected within hours.

Unfortunately, none of these things matter if you have a poor media relations team saying the wrong thing. It doesn’t matter how good your plan is if your media team can’t communicate the positives of that plan to the world.

Make sure your media relations team can communicate the right message where it needs to go without generating more controversy.

3) Avoid Using the Wrong Tense in your Disaster Recovery Plan

One of the most common problems in disaster recovery plans is the use of the wrong tense. There are two types of disaster recovery plans:

  • Those that use phrases like, “We will restart all of the servers and then contact all affected customers personally by phone using the address book that can be found in Business Listing D.”
  • And those that use phrases like “Restart all of the servers. Open Business Listing D and contact affected customers personally by phone.”

Why is this important? The first plan is an aspirational plan that deals with broad strategies that could be put in place when a disaster strikes. The second is an instructional guide that tells people exactly what they need to do when disaster strikes. Guess which one is more effective when disasters actually occur?

2) Avoid Focusing Solely on IT

In days gone by, disaster recovery plans focused solely on IT. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Today, however, it’s rarely the right idea. Today’s disaster recovery plans should educate your entire team on the processes to follow when disaster strikes. The IT department can focus on IT-specific tasks while senior management can focus on senior management tasks that don’t require detailed technical knowledge. When disaster strikes, all processes need to be protected: not just IT specific practices. Make sure your disaster recovery plan covers everything that needs to be covered in the event of a disaster.

1) Test Your Business Continuity Plans

You can strategize your disaster recovery planning as much as you like. Unless you actually test your business continuity plans, however, you’re going to have no idea how these plans actually work in the real world.

Testing your plans does two things:

  • It demonstrates that your disaster recovery plan actually works as intended to maintain business continuity
  • It shows each employee exactly what they need to do when a disaster occurs

Strong businesses have strong disaster recovery plans. But smart businesses test those plans on a regular basis. What do you want your business to be?