<div style="display:inline"><a href="https://vm.providesupport.com/1lg3uu4bxzy830fy6wpuuq8ar5">Live Customer Service


Crafting an Effective Disaster Communication Plan

Blog Expert Checklist for Crafting a Disaster Recovery PlanAmárach Research in association with SureSkills and Business Plus magazine recently canvassed 64 members of the Business Plus Panel, which is drawn from across the Irish magazine’s and website readership. The survey found that nearly half of the firms responding back up their data continuously, with one in five doing so on a daily basis. About a third of the organisations have faced a data outage or disaster, but only half of them have developed a disaster recovery strategy or action plan. Internal and external teams have been appointed by a quarter of the respondents, though 40% have neither team in place.

During a disaster, the saying goes “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It’s vital to prepare for crises – whether an IT outage, natural disaster or something else. A comprehensive communication plan can empower your teams to respond quickly, soothe concerns and limit damage.

To develop an effective disaster communication plan, our IT specialists at SureSkills have created a 7-step guide below. Use it to create a durable communication strategy that protects your business from any unforeseen event.

Why Develop a Disaster Communication Plan?

A disaster communication plan outlines how your company should inform key stakeholders of emergency events. Keeping staff, vendors and customers updated can ultimately reduce negative outcomes and restore trust in your business.

Some disasters that your team may need to communicate across your channels include:

  • IT outages, such as hardware/software failures, data center downtime, vendor downtime, etc.
  • Cyberattacks, such as data leaks, malware, DDoS, ransomware, etc.
  • Natural disasters, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.
  • Human-related disasters, such as a pandemic, active shooter, bomb threat, etc.

Business Benefits of a Disaster Communication Plan

A well-defined disaster communication plan isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good for your business. Having a plan in place can help your business:

  • Enable your team to act quickly and reduce damage
  • Build trust and reputation with all stakeholders
  • Decrease dissatisfaction and complaints during disasters
  • Limit business losses during downtime
  • Stay compliant with regulations (where applicable)

Key Steps to Create a Disaster Communication Plan

96% of IT leaders have faced at least one outage in the past three years. Whether you’re dealing with an IT issue or another disaster that impacts your business, it’s essential to keep your stakeholders in the loop – here’s how.

1. Document an Emergency Management Strategy

Start by defining a strategy for emergencies. Include your key objectives, such as reducing downtime, creating productive workflows, maintaining top customer service, etc.

As part of this strategy, assess risk scenarios that may impact your company. By expecting for the worst, you can tailor communication with stakeholders depending on the situation.

2. Include All Stakeholders in Your Plan

Make sure your disaster communication plan includes next steps for all types of stakeholders, such as:

  • Company staff (executive team, management, employees, etc.)
  • Vendors
  • Customers
  • Regulatory authorities (if applicable)
  • Press and media (PR, website, social media, etc.)

Have a list of contacts, staff roles and workflows for each area, so that you don’t leave anybody out in the heat of a crisis. Doing so will earn you clout by staying transparent and communicative. In turn, this can strengthen your business relationships or at least minimize reputational damage.

3. Define Channels for Crisis Communication

Prepare a full inventory of your communication channels, so that you can craft an aligned strategy across them. Most companies will have to update:

  • A status page
  • Website/blog
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Press releases
  • Emergency texts (if applicable)

For example, if your business has been impacted by a data leak, you’ll have a variety of messages to provide stakeholders. This may include internal crisis investigation, ongoing status updates on data recovery, emails to affected customers and vendors, advisories on your website/blog/social media about downtime, press releases about the incident and more.

4. Create Pre-Approved Communiques

Streamline your team’s efforts during a crisis by having pre-approved communiques, including customer messaging, media requests and other enquiries. Writing this copy in advance for each type of disaster and channel will allow you to communicate quickly and consistently without sacrificing quality.

Just be sure this messaging fits your brand voice and is tailored to your scenario. You can easily adapt this boilerplate language in real time to provide more specifics. And if you don’t yet have much information to offer customers, say so. Acknowledge the crisis and demonstrate your commitment to resolving it and providing updates as you know more.

5. Leverage Communication Best Practices

No matter the crisis at hand, train your teams on using communication best practices. So often companies miss the mark during disasters and generate more problems with their customers. Ideally, aim to:

  • Be honest and transparent about the crisis
  • Empathize with affected customers
  • Communicate early and often
  • Take responsibility for any failings
  • Provide interim solutions if possible

6. Rehearse How Your Team Should Act

In addition to defining staff roles in your strategy, rehearse them. Put your teams to the test by undergoing crisis drills. Every employee should know what immediate and specific tasks to handle. Key responsibilities across the company include emergency communication, IT disaster recovery, crisis messaging, customer service, media monitoring, etc. From the start, there should be a clear hierarchy for sharing information and collaborating on solutions.

7. Evolve Your Disaster Communication Plan Over Time

What’s more, you should revise your communication plan on a regular schedule. Update the documentation, workflows and contact lists at least once a year, so that it’s as effective as possible. Your business should also audit your plan after every drill and crisis, so that you can determine ways to improve your incident response in the long term.

Craft Your Disaster Communication Plan With SureSkills

Surviving a crisis can hinge on communicating effectively with your stakeholders and maintaining their trust. Your plan can also enable your teams to act rapidly and limit any damage. Use our expert tips to craft your own rigorous disaster communication plan!

If your company isn’t sure how to develop a communication or IT disaster recovery plan, get in touch with our specialists at SureSkills. Our seasoned IT experts can provide Backup and DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) to protect your business into the future.

Contact us now


Subscribe Here!

About SureSkills

We deliver learning and enablement services to the worlds leading technology companies and global organizations.

Recent Posts