A Disaster Recovery Plan is something that every business, small or big, needs to have. There are two main reasons why that is essential for basically any business: to be prepared in the case of a disaster and to follow government requirements.

There are three main features specific to natural disasters; one is that they can strike at any time, in any place and with varying intensity. Even with the technology available today, it is still hard to anticipate what is coming or when it might come. The simple truth is that changes to our climate have made any prediction impossible, meaning that the only thing left to do is to prepare for any possible event and ensure all factors have been taken in to consideration.

During a disaster everyone and everything in an area is affected. Many businesses are largely affected as well. Fast recovery from a disaster is of a great importance for any business that wants to be operational as soon as the storm passes. However, copying another business’s Disaster Recovery Plan is simply not enough! The disaster recovery plan must be built around the basic postulates of the business as well as the resources that it requires to be operational.

Below is an outline of a disaster recovery plan that can be used as a foundation for building a customized solution, one that will meet the specifics of most businesses.  There are many resources available to build Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plans available.  The US Small Business Administration association have some useful disaster recovery plan examples as well as disaster recovery plan sample,

This sample disaster recovery plan consists of seven easy steps. They are general steps and can be used by almost every business.

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Step 1: Recognize the need of a disaster plan

Every road starts with one, little step. This one starts with recognizing that disasters are an equal threat to businesses as they are to people. Whether it is the threat of a hurricane, floods, wild fire or any other possible disaster, business are affected just as anything else. Because of this, every business needs to have a disaster recovery plan.

The absence of a Disaster Recovery Plan can cost a business money and sometimes its existence.

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Step 2: Make a List of all of the possible threats

Specific geographical areas come with specific threats, meaning not all businesses are under a threat of hurricanes or tornadoes. On the other hand, they might be under different kind of threats such as floods, wildfire, extreme temperatures or man-made threats.

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Step 3: Make an Inventory list of business resources and technology

One of the main features of a good Disaster Recovery Plan is a business survival checklist. The checklist needs to include all the resources and technology that are essential in operating the business.

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Step 4: Make a Survival Gear check list

This step includes making another list of tools and resources that can be used to recover the business after a disaster has struck. For an example, a printing company needs to have set of spare parts for its machines to recover some of the equipment that has been affected by a disaster.

The business survival gear check list is pretty much the same as a personal survival kit checklist. The goal of both is to help equipment and assets make it through the storm and make a recovery as soon as possible.

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Step 5: Developing the disaster recovery plan

This step includes collating the data from every step done so far. An effective Disaster Recovery Plan needs to be able to guarantee that the business will be up and running in the shortest time frame following the disaster.

Many small businesses use the services of outside consulting companies to help them with their Business Recovery Plans. Alternatively big corporations hire experts that create their contingency plans and update them if the circumstances require so.

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Step 6: Introducing the disaster recovery plan to the employees

The plan can only be as good as people who implement it. In the case of an emergency, employees need to be familiar with the plan and able to implement it in practice.

The best way to do so is by giving them a copy of the Disaster Recovery Plan and discussing it over one or two meetings so everyone knows his or her role.  It also needs to be rehearse on a regular basis.  Every quarter of so.

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Step 7: Testing the disaster recovery plan

There is no better way to assess a Disaster Recovery Plan than by making a simulation. Most companies do this over the weekend when the workflow is either low or there isnot any.

By doing this, the weaknesses of the disaster recovery plan can be revealed along with its strong points. Plus, everyone can become more familiar with what is expected from them in case of an emergency.

The benefits of good disaster recovery plan

In a time when disasters are part of our everyday living, having a Disaster Recovery Plan is a matter of live or die for many businesses. Here are the most important benefits of having a Disaster Recovery Plan.

Reduced downtime

The less time the business is out of work means less money that is lost. Prolonged downtime can lead to a loss in sales and clients. Considering today’s economy, this is something that most companies can’t afford.

Staying ahead of the competition

Effective Disaster Recovery Plan can also mean getting an edge with the competitors. Not all businesses have disaster recovery plans and even those that have one don’t pay enough attention to it. This means that not all business hit by the same disaster can recover at the same pace and same will. This is the difference between businesses with an effective disaster recovery plan and the rest.

Disaster recovery plan are often required by law

Many businesses are obligated to have a disaster recovery plan or they risk being fined. Banks, financial services and legal practices are some of the business types that share this obligation and are required to Provide Disaster Recovery plans to the authorities.

Having piece of mind

Last but not least, having piece of mind is probably the greatest benefit of having a Disaster Recovery Plan. By knowing that the business is well covered for any disaster event, business owners can rest assured that the business won’t suffer in the long-term.