We're here to help
0345 222 5391
Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, local rate & mobile friendly

What is a disaster recovery plan?


Are you managing your risks with a disaster recovery plan?

We know it’s not good to have negative thoughts...but in business, sometimes it’s necessary. Because all the positive thinking in the world can’t stop some unexpected catastrophes from happening.

A disaster recovery plan is a document that outlines exactly how you’ll get your business back up and running quickly in the event of a technical meltdown.

It’s often part of a broader business continuity plan and refers to the IT side of your business.

What’s in it for me?

Whether it’s because of a cyber-attack, a natural disaster, a fire, or anything else, knowing what to do with your IT systems in a crisis will save you time and money. And keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Let’s face it, IT is one of the most important aspects of business for most. And one of the most complex. That’s why it’s so important to plan for digital disasters.

Do I need a disaster recovery plan?

Well, do you run a business? Then, probably.

How in-depth your plan needs to be will depend on the nature and size of your business. And how heavily you rely on your IT infrastructure.

If, like us, you hold a lot of sensitive information on your systems, and rely on your IT infrastructure to survive, having a solid disaster recovery plan is absolutely essential.

From virtual assistants to coffee shop owners, a disaster recovery plan should be on your radar. It’ll get you out of a hole quickly if the worst happens.

Think about things like, how will you pay your staff? How will you contact customers? Or simply, how will you keep your business open if your tech comes under fire?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, and the success of your business rides on it, then you most definitely need a disaster recovery plan.

Why do I need a disaster recovery plan?

Let’s just look at a simple scenario. You’re an online retailer. You’ve built a good reputation and a solid customer base. You have customers’ sensitive data saved on your computer.

One day, you’re stung by an almighty cyber-attack. Your whole website is down and you have no idea if customers’ data has been stolen. What do you do?

With a well-tested disaster recovery plan, you’ll know exactly what to do. Without one, you’ll be left flapping like a wild goose with no idea how to stop your business from sinking.

We need disaster recovery plans for lots of reasons, but the main reasons are:

  • Trust. Your clients or customers want to know that you’re looking after their information as best as you can - even when disaster strikes. If sensitive information is compromised, or you’re not able to deliver goods when promised, you’ll have to think about how it could tarnish your reputation.
  • Financial impact. If things go haywire and you aren’t prepared, it goes without saying that it’ll cost you. The longer your business is out of action, the more you’ll lose. And the more likely you are to never recover. You might have to factor in things like GDPR fines or the cost of new systems and equipment, too.

How do I make a disaster recovery plan?

If you’re a small business that doesn’t rely too heavily on IT, you’ll get away with a simple, practical plan that you can put together yourself.

But if there’s more to it, it’s a good idea to get external professionals to help you come up with the right solutions.

Your disaster discovery plan will have to be tailored to your specific needs, obviously. But here are some of the basic questions you need to think about when putting your plan together:

  • What kind of events will you need to prepare for?
  • Who will need to be told about the crisis?
  • Where will you work and what equipment will you use if you can't access your workplace?
  • How will your employees continue to work and how will you pay them?
  • How will you communicate with customers/clients?
  • How will you continue to provide your products or services with minimal disruption?
  • Have you got the right types of insurance? What are your policy numbers and what number should you call in a crisis?
  • How often will you review your plan and how will you know that it works?

Back up, back up, back up!

Yep. Backing up all of your data is essential. Back it up, and back it up again. Data is often at the very heart of a business, so it’s essential you protect it.

This should be a big part of your disaster recovery plan.

Whether it’s an external factor like a flood or an IT problem, it’s important that all your data is kept safe and sound. And that you can access it quickly after any unforeseen event.

Things like cloud backup services, or isolated backups can also help keep your data secure.

And whilst there are a lot of disasters that are out of our control, cyber-attacks are something you can prepare for to a certain extent. So, make sure you’re doing everything you can to be cyber-secure. Including making sure you’re covering your cyber risks with cyber insurance.

Disaster recovery plans and insurance

You might be thinking, ‘Why do I need a disaster discovery plan if I have cyber insurance to bail me out?’ But here’s the thing. Insurance will never cover you for failing to keep up with the latest cyber risks.

If you want cyber insurance, you’ll need to prove to insurers that you’re taking every precaution necessary to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

You can also add something called business interruption insurance to your cover. This kicks in when something unexpected happens - a storm, for example, that means you can’t use your work premises or equipment. It’ll pay to keep your business ticking over until you’re back on your feet.

Extremely valuable then. But if you want it, you’re going to need a disaster recovery plan. Because, yet again, an insurer won’t cover you unless they can see you’re doing as much as you can to help yourself.

So, if you don’t have a decent disaster recovery plan, now’s the time to make one. Insurers can refuse to cover you if there are pitfalls in your future planning.

Some professional indemnity policies might require you to have a disaster recovery plan, too. If you’re an IT company, for example.

If you’d like to find out more about cyber, professional indemnity, or business interruption insurance, you can call us on 0345 222 5391.

Image used under license from iStock.

If you liked this, you might like these...

How not to be underinsured
Being underinsured can leave you seriously out of pocket and put your future in jeopardy if something goes wrong. Here's how to avoid it.
How are insurance premiums calculated?
Feel like your insurer is just pulling numbers out of thin air? Exactly how are insurance premiums calculated? Here's what you need to know.
Cyber insurance for management consultants
Find out how cyber insurance for management consultants saved one unlucky person from a tricky data breach. And the costs that came after.

More Advice, News & Know-how