What Is A Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan?
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What would happen if a disaster occurred and prevented you from accessing your business critical technology infrastructure and data?
The answer is that without a solid disaster recovery plan, your business could close its doors forever.
After all, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that’s what happens to up to 60% of small businesses that fail to implement a recovery plan.
So, to help you be ready in case of disaster, we cover below what a disaster recovery plan entails before highlighting the key steps to create one for your business to include in your business plan.
What Is A Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan is a formal document designed to set out how a small business can efficiently recover access to its critical technology infrastructure and data in the face of a major disruptive event.
Disaster recovery plans provide small businesses with a structured approach to responding to unexpected disruptive events that threaten IT infrastructure and critical assets such as data.
These disruptive events or disasters include:
- Natural disasters, including storms, flooding, or fires
- Equipment failure
- Human errors
- Terrorist / national threats
- Telecoms failure
A disaster recovery plan has five major goals:
- Restoring your IT and communication systems
- Regaining access to good quality data
- Minimising business disruptions
- Containing commercial losses
- Avoiding regulatory breaches
Now, it’s important to note that 90% of businesses that aren’t able to resume their activities within five days after a major incident fail within a year. That’s why having a plan in place and acting quickly on it is so important.
4 Steps To Create A Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan
Create An Emergency Response Plan
Having an emergency response plan in place will allow you to determine when an incident becomes an emergency and define what needs to be done to ensure your staff and data are safe.
This plan should include:
- The steps your staff need to take to stay safe.
- The steps your employees should take to protect your data, hardware, software, and inventory.
- A list of who to contact and in what order. Individual responsibilities within the team should be clear and concise.
Once you’ve drafted the emergency protocol, hold regular training sessions to make sure your staff is up to date and ready in case of emergencies.
Develop A Business Continuity Plan
The idea of a business continuity plan is to allow your business to resume its operations as quickly as possible.
Here are the key steps to drafting a business continuity plan:
- Determine the impact of a disaster on your business and bottom line. For instance, let’s imagine you own a retail store. In that scenario, the impact of flooding to your store in December just before the holiday season, would have a much more significant effect on your sales than in March.
- Once you’ve identified the impact of a disaster on your business, determine the resources needed to minimise disruptions. This could be using third-party services to back up your data or duplicating important documents. You should also have a list of key vendors, personnel, and client information.
- Assign clear responsibilities to team members to speed up recovery. This is also a great way to improve on your delegating skills as a business owner.
Have A Communication Strategy In Place
Being transparency with your clients, letting them know what’s happening, and sharing your business’ plan to recover in case of disaster is critical. Why? Because they need to know that you’re in control and your business can continue servicing them normally. Otherwise, they could head straight for the competition.
That being said, your communication plan shouldn’t only focus on clients. Your vendors, suppliers, and business partners should also be updated.
When communicating with your stakeholders and the general public, make sure to share a unified message to avoid sending mixed signals. Be honest in your updates and highlight the key steps you’re taking following your disaster recovery plan to ease concerns and show that your clients can trust you.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Not all insurance policies are created equal when it comes to protecting your business against disasters. That’s why you should review your current insurance policy and ensure there are no gaps in coverage. For instance, make sure your policy includes indirect costs incurred by a disaster, such as the disruption to your business from cyber attacks. You should also review what kind of disasters are covered.
At upcover, we’ve recently introduced Cyber & Liability Insurance to our offering to help small business owners protect their companies in the event of a cyberattack. Don’t hesitate to check out our instant quote generator, where you can get an estimate on market-leading insurance in seconds. Simply enter your occupation and expected revenue to get started.