Business Disaster Recovery Checklist

Business Disaster Recovery Checklist

Each year, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other disasters force businesses to close.  According to research by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, over 25 percent of businesses that close after one of these events never reopen.  Your business doesn’t need to become another of these grim statistics:  With a few proactive measures, you can protect your facility, equipment and data from a variety of natural and man-made disasters.  Let’s take a look at some items that should be on any small or mid-sized business’s disaster recovery checklist.

  1. Create a Written Plan
    Keep a formal disaster recovery plan in a secure location, and update it regularly.  As your business grows and evolves, the plan should change accordingly.
  1. Secure a Source of Emergency Power
    An uninterrupted power supply can be a good investment for your business:  This power can be used to keep mission-critical systems running, and it can provide a smooth transition from your primary power source to an emergency power system in the event of a disaster.  An emergency power generator will keep your business’s lights and electronics running during a power outage, which can significantly reduce any disruption of your business.
  1. Back Up Your Data
    Data backup should be a central component of any disaster recovery plan.  The first step in this process involves identifying the data that should be backed up.  Information on desktop computers, laptops and other devices should be regularly backed up to a network server; this server’s data can then be backed up to another location. 

    Cloud storage offers a practical, cost-effective solution for small businesses with internet connectivity.  In some cases, a local backup copy of your critical data can be helpful for business continuity:  If your main business location still has power but loses its internet connection, you’ll be able to recover key server data. 

  1. Prepare for Evacuation
    If an evacuation of the local area is issued, you’ll need to grab your most essential business equipment and records before you leave.  Your disaster recovery plan should be one of these items; other critical items may include your company’s insurance policies, company checks, employee contact information, customer records and a list of all business credit cards and bank accounts.  Be sure to secure your building before you evacuate.
  1. Enable Employee Communication
    During a disaster or crisis, communication becomes more vital than ever.  Be sure you have multiple ways to communicate with your employees:  websites, cell phones, emergency toll-free hotlines or other methods.
  2. Choose Safe Locations for IT Systems
    Floods and burst pipes can cause water to accumulate in a building and damage your IT systems.  Try to place your critical systems and servers above street level, and avoid locating this hardware in a basement.  If your business is in a one-story building, position your critical systems as far off the floor as possible.

    Developing an effective disaster recovery plan may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.  With this checklist as a guide, you’ll have most of the preparation and protection basics covered.  You’ll be more likely to avoid the loss of time and money due to a temporary closure, and you’ll improve your odds of staying in business in the aftermath of a disaster.