Does your Organization have a Disaster Recovery Plan? Better yet, do you know what it is?

Chances are your organization has a Disaster Recovery Plan. At some point, someone in your organization designed and developed a Plan. The question is do you know what the Plan is? Do you know how to implement it? When was the last time you looked at it?

Many companies that have bothered to go through the time and effort to develop a Plan end up with only a nice, big, thick binder that sits on the shelf collecting dust. Once it’s been developed, little or no attention is paid to it. But what happens when two to three years go by and a disaster strikes? Would you feel confident, in that time of crisis, that your old dusty Plan is still applicable? Considering the ever-changing dynamics of the electronic office (software upgrades, hardware upgrades, and new compliance requirements) the Plan you developed just a few years ago is probably woefully out of date.

The solution is routine, and sometimes non-routine, testing of the Plan. Testing the Plan through orchestrated drills is the only way to be sure the Plan will be a success.

The Plan should be an ever-changing document that is reviewed, tested, and updated. It’s best to institute a formal maintenance structure for keeping the Plan up-to-date. At the very least, a semi-annual review of all the procedures, documentation, and assumptions is appropriate. An event-based approach to updating the Plan is a good method and ensures disaster planning is woven into all aspects of the organization. For instance, when:

  • Personnel or structure changes are made, a review of the Plan is triggered
  • The organization plans to add space or a new facility, a review of the Plan is triggered
  • A new system or technology is introduced, a review of the Plan is triggered
  • Compliance regulations are changed, a review of Plan is triggered

Don’t let your once well prepared Plan sit on that shelf collecting dust. The time commitment going forward to keep the Plan up to date should be minimal compared to the amount of time it took to initially develop and implement it. Don’t let it be just one more useless binder.