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How to Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan for an SME

Nov 1, 2023

Blog - How to Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan for an SME

40% of small businesses never reopen after a natural disaster, while 60% fold within six months of a cyberattack.

Yet, almost half of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) admit that they have no disaster plan in place.

It’s essential to develop a comprehensive recovery plan so that your business can survive – and even thrive – when disaster strikes. SMEs are particularly vulnerable to disasters, as they may not have the same level of resources to insulate themselves from damage and downtime.

To help your SME get started, our IT experts at SureSkills have put together an essential checklist for developing a rigorous disaster recovery plan.

Why Craft a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) outlines clear steps to minimize the impacts of a disaster and get business activities back online as quickly as possible.

Disasters can come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Natural disasters, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.
  • External threats to the facility, such as a pandemic, active shooter, bomb threat, etc.
  • Unforeseen loss of IT services, such as power outages, communication outages, data center downtime, hardware failure, vendor downtime, etc.
  • Cyberattacks, such as malware, DDoS, ransomware, data theft, etc.

Regardless of the disaster at hand, your business may immediately suffer from the consequences. Many SMEs go out of business due to the high costs and reputation loss during a disaster.

Fortunately, having a clear disaster recovery plan can help:

  • Maximize business continuity
  • Limit revenue loss from downtime
  • Prepare staff to quickly resolve the incident
  • Lower damages and repair costs
  • Minimize reputation loss and customer dissatisfaction
  • Stay compliant with data and security regulations

Key Steps to Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan

1. Have an Ongoing Backup Plan in Place

Your business should always have a backup schedule in place, so that you won’t lose data and resources during a disaster.

Define backup procedures and schedules, as well as remote and cloud storage of certain documents and databases. Take special care of personal and intellectual data, as you don’t want this information leaked or lost.

2. Know Your Recovery Objectives

It’s vital to know your organizational objectives during a disaster, so you can prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Specifically, decide on a Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the maximum time from the start of the disaster that you can tolerate to restore business activities (i.e. 1 hour, 8 hours, etc.).

You should also define a Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which is the maximum time you can tolerate from your last usable backup. For example, you may lose 1 hour of data during a disaster if your backup schedule runs every hour.

3. Keep an Updated Inventory of IT Assets and Recovery Sites

Next, you should audit your full IT assets, so that you can prioritize certain areas during a disaster and make plans for key recovery sites.

Make an inventory of your hardware, software, data, applications, etc. and then pinpoint which are critical in the event of disaster. You should also include where these assets are kept and how they will be moved or recovered in a disaster.

4. Define Staff Roles in a Disaster

Your disaster recovery plan should also keep track of who’s responsible for what during a disaster. Clarifying staff roles and contact information upfront can help ensure everybody knows how to act.

Be sure to define who’s in charge of backup recovery, IT troubleshooting, crisis management, communication, customer service, etc.

5. Have Documented Procedures Listed by Disaster

It’s also helpful to create step-by-step documentation for every type of disaster that your organization may face.

In this way, your staff can turn directly to the instructions for that disaster and guarantee full coverage of needs. Remember that staff may become stressed or overwhelmed during these events. Define steps for every part of the recovery plan, including emergency, IT and communication responses.

6. Create a Priority Communication Plan

Communication is a crucial part of mitigating the impacts of a disaster. You’ll need a plan for informing all parties, including:

  • Company staff, including CEO, management, employees, etc.
  • Vendors
  • Customers
  • Regulatory authorities (if applicable)
  • Press and media (including PR and online website/social media)

Craft clear communication protocols for every type of stakeholder, so that you can keep up the best possible relationship during a disaster. Staying transparent often helps maintain your reputation with customers and vendors.

7. Update Your Disaster Recovery Plan Over Time

Finally, your disaster recovery plan should be a living document that’s updated with every drill and event. Revise your plan at least once a year, if not more, so that you can make it durable for any disaster that may come your way.

Develop Your DRP With Our Experts at SureSkills

Having a disaster recovery plan is critical for SMEs to weather unforeseen events. In many ways, a DRP acts as insurance against disasters, so that your business can recover quickly and minimize any damages. You can leverage our steps above to develop your own comprehensive disaster recovery plan!

If you don’t have the in-house expertise to confidently make your DRP, lean on our experts at SureSkills. Our IT specialists offer Backup and DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) to safeguard your business in the event of a disaster. Get in touch with us today!


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