10 things that should be included in IT disaster recovery plans

There are many items that are required in IT disaster recovery (DR) plans, with some being location specific and others more generic. As specialises in disaster recovery Melbourne we hope this article helps shape your thinking as we discuss 10 crucial items for the success of your IT disaster recovery plan.

  • Have an accurate call list. Communicating with employees is essential during a disaster. Your call list must be current and include backups for each key individual and multiple contact information for them as well.
  • Work off of a detailed script. When you are in recovery mode, many things occur at the same time, and confusion is highly likely. In order to make the disaster recovery process easier, have a detailed script or step-by-step instructions in your DR plan. Multiple people may need to use this list, so keep it simple. If at all possible, try to anticipate errors and include remediation steps.
  • Test and retest the plan. It is possible to test separate portions of the DR plan on their own, but make sure the whole plan is tested at least once a year or if a major change takes place. If you exercise or test the DR plan at least once a quarter, then the staff will become more familiar with the plan. Keep in mind that when testing the DR plan, don’t assume that everything will go according to plan. Consider where things might go wrong that weren’t expected to.
  • Each member of the team should be familiar with their defined role. Additionally, the backup members must be familiar with their roles. If a team member whose primary role is applications has a backup role as a telecommunications resource, make sure they know what that role includes.
  • Have a list of 24-hour supply delivery resources and food outlets at the recovery site. This may sound odd as a must have, but it is extremely sometimes. You will likely spend many hours at a recovery site and will need to replenish supplies. You do not want to start searching for places when every minute and resource counts. You may very well need to be at the recovery site for longer than 24 hours at a time.
  • Include an application list in the DR plan. An application list is any software package or system that will be part of the recovery, and it should always appear in a master list. Each entry in the list should have the application name as the technical staff identifies it, the name the business side recognizes and any technical details such as server name, etc. Along with the technical items, include the application owner, their full contact information and backup contacts.
  • Include a current network diagram of the entire network and recovery site in the DR plan. Each node on the switch and panels should have some means of identification. In a recovery, you do not want to start following cables and wires through switches, etc.
  • The DR plan should contain an easy-to-follow map and directions of how to reach the recovery site. Do not assume everyone knows how to get to the recovery site. Secondary directions should be provided too in case the main route is congested or impassable. Also, include available parking facilities.
  • Include additional documentation such as a list of vendor contacts and insurance documentation such as policy numbers. These items, as well as a list of all the hardware and software licenses you may have, are helpful to have a disaster recovery plan.
  • The disaster recovery plan must be current. The most critical issue regarding a disaster recovery plan is that it is current and that a backup copy exists at the recovery site. You do not want to go through a recovery process with an outdated plan. In order to avoid this, update the plan at least once a year, or whenever modifications are made that require a change in the disaster recovery plan. These changes can be in hardware, software upgrades, or any change that would modify the current disaster recovery environment.

It is important to appreciate that DR plans will probably be exercised under extreme conditions such as stress and time sensitivity. Keep this in mind when reviewing your plan. If you or your business is looking for experts in disaster recovery in Melbourne, we’d welcome a chat with you.

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