The business continuity, disaster recovery checklist

Disruptions can strike at any moment, damaging or destroying critical systems required for daily functions. Companies without thorough business continuity and disaster recovery strategies will struggle mightily to not only safeguard these assets, but also to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible to restore operational efficiency.

Continuity Central contributor James Stevenson recently detailed the steps required to achieve proper BC/DR protocols. Every company is different, each with its own industry-specific needs, end-user requirements and corporate goals. Firms preparing exercises to test recovery strategies must determine their site plans, layouts, actions required following disruptions, any concerns related to suppliers, customers and third parties and how these strategies will work or go wrong.

Focus on employees
Staff members are the ones who will carry out BC/DR strategies, so it is imperative for organizations to make sure participants in exercises learn from these processes. Stevenson encouraged continuity managers to start with small incidents, rather than large ones, to educate people. Once personnel have their bearings, the severity of the events can be ramped up to reflect their acumen.

"Comprehensive business continuity strategies require detailed approaches."

Another key factor related to people is making sure employees can work together. Stevenson noted having workers who have yet to collaborate on a team level participate in exercises will not yield the proper results. It is best to determine the level of training and practice required beforehand to gauge the resources needed for the workforce.

Determine objectives
As highlighted earlier, companies are different entities that have unique requirements, so their continuity initiatives must account for their personalized demands. Stevenson noted some objectives can include IT disaster responses, social media use, incident control rooms, communications solutions, evacuation routes, off-site recovery plans and collaboration with emergency services, among others.

Companies can also determine the success of some of these objectives if they test for simple passes or failures. Stevenson wrote an example of this approach can include whether recovery responses for certain systems are completed within a certain time frame.

Recovery specialists help companies with every facet of their disaster preparedness. Recovery specialists help companies with every facet of their disaster preparedness.

Bring in some fresh eyes
With so many steps required to complete thorough recovery initiatives, businesses should not hesitate to contact recovery specialists for assistance in crafting their protocols, educating employees and conducting tests to identify any vulnerabilities that may impact response times. These service providers are also knowledgeable on how clients should back up critical data, whether employing secondary sites, cloud-based environments or a mix of both options to cover all bases would be best.

Firms that have yet to experience a major disruption, whether from prolonged power outages or Mother Nature-related incidents involving inclement weather, should not rely on this good fortune for much longer. Some companies that are hit with disasters never reopen their doors if the incident is severe. Not only do businesses in this position lose hours or days worth of revenue, they also have frustrated customers and clients on their hands who may seek service from rival brands that can are available around the clock.

It is always best to plan ahead, rather than be reactive when disruptions occur. Following these helpful tips and partnering with reputable recovery specialists should position companies in the right direction when it comes to responding to all types of disasters.