Checklist For Disaster Recovery Plans

Checklist For Disaster Recovery Plans

This is a checklist for disaster recovery plans.
Tonight, at 8:37, a tornado will attack your office. Will your company reopen tomorrow? If you haven’t prepared for the worst-case scenario, the answer is no: not tomorrow, and maybe never. We designed this basic disaster recovery checklist to assist you in planning how you will resume operations following a calamity.

Most calamities arrive without warnings.
Tornadoes are generally foreseeable with today’s weather predicting technologies. Hurricanes, torrential rains, and blizzards are all natural calamities that you can typically predict. Most disasters, however, come when you least expect them—and for unanticipated reasons: fires, hacks, terrorist attacks, ransomware, and even ordinary human mistake. Each sort of calamity has a particular impact on the people, systems, and procedures that keep your organization operating. This disaster recovery checklist will ensure that you are prepared for almost any significant occurrence.


Checklist For Disaster Recovery Plans

1. Determine who does what during a calamity.

Most disaster recovery plan examples refer to this as a “mission-critical hierarchy of personnel functions.” In a nutshell, it lists essential stakeholders, executives, and managers, as well as their disaster response duties.

This part is often the first in the DRP. It lists the persons in charge of the organization’s disaster recovery plans, as well as those who must maintain close communication in the event of a crisis.

Here’s a brief checklist of questions that this section should address:

Who wrote the catastrophe recovery plan? Who works on the disaster recovery team? How should they be reached in an emergency?
Which stakeholders require regular updates on the status of recovery efforts?

Who will be responsible for monitoring the impact on sales and cash flow?
Who will make choices on business relocation?
Who has access to secure systems and the capacity to provide authorization to others?
What actions must be undertaken in each area to ensure that operations resume as soon as possible?


Decisions like this must be taken promptly, so your recovery plan should specify who will make them and how.



2. Determine the goal of the strategy.

Not all catastrophe recovery plans have the same objectives. For example, it is very usual for IT to construct its own DRP that focuses solely on IT systems such as networking, data storage, backup, and so on. This might be a smart idea if further disaster recovery plans are developed for other divisions of the company.

The “objectives” section of your DRP clearly states the plan’s goal. It specifies whether the planning applies to the entire corporation or specific divisions, such as information technology.



What is the precise objective of this catastrophe recovery plan?
Why is it needed?
What systems, divisions, or business units does the strategy apply to?
How can the DRP assist the firm recover from a disaster?
In addition to determining the scope (and restrictions) of the plan, the goals section provides a brief explanation of the significance of disaster recovery planning. This can help demonstrate to decision-makers the vital need for more DR spending.



3. Put people first.

When you Google “checklist for disaster recovery plan,” you’ll be surprised how many lists fail to highlight the possibility of genuine human injury in a disaster. If your strategy is centered on the business as a whole (rather than particular systems), you must include a plan for how you will care for your personnel.

Aside from ethical considerations, the safety of your employees is critical to your capacity to sustain continuity. Without safe and healthy employees, the company will be unable to recover. As a result, your disaster recovery plan must clearly detail how your employees will be kept secure.



Where should employees seek refuge if trapped in a natural disaster, such as a tornado?
What about active shooter scenarios and terrorism? How should workers respond? What should they do?
What if there are widespread injuries in the office?
Where are medical supplies stored? Who has access to them, and how will they be dispersed to people in need?
How will you get prompt medical treatment for more extreme emergencies?
Is there a designated person who will call authorities and manage the situation?


Tip: When it comes to disaster recovery preparation, organizations must consider more than just the first-aid box. If you want to prioritize your workers, you must have a comprehensive strategy in place to secure their well-being in all crisis scenarios.



4. Describe the specific dangers.

You can’t prepare to recover from a disaster unless you know what it will look like. Like a business continuity plan, your disaster recovery plan must contain a detailed evaluation of the most likely calamities that may disrupt operations.

This risk assessment is critical for gaining a greater knowledge of all potential crisis situations. It is not sufficient to merely state, “This is what we will do in an earthquake.” The DRP should detail each unique risk posed by the earthquake, such as facility destruction, server and data loss, bodily danger to humans, and so on.



Which calamities threaten operations?
What do these calamities look like? What may happen? Why are they mentioned here?
On a scale of 1 to 5, how likely are the following scenarios? How should catastrophes be prioritized?
Have you examined all potential calamities, including those specific to your company or area?


5. Determine the impact of those occurrences.

Depending on the size of your disaster recovery plan, you may need to add a “business impact analysis” here. (This is a popular section in business continuity plans.) An impact study helps to describe how each potential calamity may effect operations.

So, for example, in the risk assessment, you may define ransomware as a type of malware that encrypts data. In the impact study, you provide the real impact: data loss, idle workers owing to computer inaccessibility, information systems falling down, and so on.



What business operations are impacted by each sort of disaster?
What is the specific outline?. How are operations disrupted?
What are the implications for productivity, service availability, revenue, personnel, corporate reputation, and so on?
How much will that interruption cost the company?
That final question is typically one of the most crucial in judging the severity of any tragedy. Defining the financial effect on an hourly or daily basis helps to clarify which disasters are the most devastating, as well as how recovery planning should be prioritized.


6. Outline the actions for preventive and mitigation.

The “best” disaster scenarios are ones that can be avoided entirely. While this is not always practical, incorporating preventative planning into your DRP can assist to guarantee a much easier recovery.

Consider a ransomware assault that is halted by the first compromised device before spreading throughout the network. Or a hurricane that damages an office building but not the operations, which were transferred days before the storm hit. These are excellent illustrations of how prevention and mitigation may significantly minimize the impact of an incident.



What steps or processes can you put in place to assist prevent the disasters listed in your risk assessment?
When disasters do occur, how may their impact be mitigated?
What is the appropriate instant response to each sort of event? How may those precautions assist to avert a full-blown disaster?
Which mitigating techniques will assist to expedite recovery efforts?



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7. Define the recovery processes and systems.

This is the true meat of your disaster recovery strategy. This section describes the complete methods and techniques for recovering from each of the catastrophes you mentioned above.

The level of granularity will vary according on the plan’s objectives. However, any potentially disruptive occurrence should be accompanied by explicit instructions for overcoming the issue and returning all impacted operations to their usual condition.


What procedures should be taken to fully restore operations?
Which systems should be leveraged, and how?
What are the unique protocols for each possible disaster?
Who will carry out such procedures?


8. Establish a backup office.

A disaster recovery plan must address the possibility of losing an entire work site due to a natural disaster or other occurrence. If there is no backup site accessible, it will be far more difficult to recover activities.

Most firms do not pay rent on extra space that will only be used in an emergency. But you do need to consider your alternatives. Consider where your employees will work if the office cannot be opened.


What is the strategy for shifting activities if the main location is damaged or inaccessible?
Does the organization have any other sites where dispersed teams may go in an emergency?

Is there technology in place to enable individuals to work remotely?
Can more facilities be readily procured if necessary?


Tip: Consider constructing a second, ongoing checklist that identifies prospective available real estate that would allow the company to relocate promptly if needed. That includes making phone calls and staying in regular contact with real estate agents who can help you move into a new location right immediately.



9. Determine your equipment needs.

You have a limited, mission-critical crew. What number of PCs will you need? What is the number of mobile phones? Who gets them, and where do they come from?

To resume operations following an interruption, you must have the essential equipment, especially if the firm is forced to relocate. Defining these resources in your disaster recovery strategy ensures that the organization has the backup equipment it requires (or can rapidly get) to preserve continuity.



Every organization should keep a current inventory of all office equipment, including computers, IT infrastructure, furniture, and other assets.
Your disaster recovery plan should outline how you would recreate the complete inventory following a significant disaster, as well as a reduced inventory of absolute mission-critical equipment.
If backup equipment is not readily available, how will it be obtained? What are the quickest techniques, and who will manage these efforts?


10. Identify data backup and recovery solutions.

Data backups are an important part of any disaster recovery plan. Most firms nowadays rely extensively on data for many elements of their operations. Backup all network data, including files, emails, and digital assets, to ensure easy restoration in the event of a disaster.

At a time when ransomware is a persistent danger to company data, having a reliable backup solution is critical. The DRP should include a full definition of this system, as well as recovery processes.



Data is your company’s most precious asset and the single most critical factor influencing its downtime. A strong backup solution should be a crucial component of any IT disaster recovery plan.
Consider how and where you back up your data. Is it on site? In the cloud? Is the data encrypted?
How soon can it be restored? What is the likelihood of data breach or corruption during recovery?
How often should data be backed up?
How long should backups be stored?
How fast should data be restored from backups if a loss occurs?


11. Make communication easier.

Recovery after a disaster is impossible if your people are unable to communicate with one another or do not know how. Consider both how and with whom people will communicate.


Which gadgets will mission-critical teams use?
How will you communicate with your employees if email and phones are unavailable?
Who should workers contact to validate the state of the business or learn what is going on?
Who will stakeholders need to contact to carry out the disaster recovery plan?


12. Safeguard hard-copy documents.

Even in today’s digital age, most organizations still keep mounds of vital paper documents in boxes and filing cabinets. You must prepare ahead of time how you will safeguard, copy, recover, and/or recreate these documents if you unexpectedly lose access to them.


Where will the actual papers be stored? On-site, remote, or both?
Which papers require backup copies, and where will they be stored?
How soon can backup records be secured if necessary in an emergency?
Who is in charge of document management, especially in a crisis scenario?



13. Decide what you will say to the outer world.

In addition to internal communication, you may need to contact the media, clients, consumers, or vendors. How? Which ones, specifically? What key messages will you need to communicate once a catastrophe has affected your business?

Things to consider:

Many disaster recovery audit checklists include the necessity for a “crisis media kit.” This is a fantastic idea if you think you’ll need to put out a press release or another urgent message.
Do not put this off. Nobody likes to write a press release after a calamity has damaged their business. Have one already written, templated, and ready to go as needed. (If you’ve done your job and created a disaster recovery plan. You already know what this release will need to say (nearly regardless of the type of calamity you’re experiencing.)


14. Set expectations.

Should a recovery last two hours or two days? In every catastrophe recovery strategy, merely defining what recovery comprises is sufficient. To achieve continuity objectives, the plan must also specify how fast the recovery should be accomplished.

In IT, for example, it is usual to set explicit goals for retrieving data following a data loss event. A recovery point goal (RPO) establishes the maximum desirable age of a backup, whereas a recovery time objective (RTO) determines how soon the data may be restored. Similar approaches can be used in other recovery attempts.



How fast should each disaster-related event be resolved?
What is the estimated timeline for each kind of recovery? How many hours?
What are the time limits that must not be surpassed in order to avoid a more disastrous outcome?
Are there any additional procedures that will guarantee those goals are met?


15. Constantly reassess.

Disaster preparation is a work in progress. You must regularly assess your plan to ensure that you are preparing for all conceivable circumstances.

When constructing a disaster recovery checklist, keep in mind that the information you provide will most likely become obsolete in a matter of months.
Your strategy should include a timeframe for how often it will be updated and by whom.


Most catastrophe recovery plans are far from flawless, and the list above is simply meant to serve as a guideline. Consider working with a disaster planning specialist to develop a complete, tailored strategy for your company.

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