Businesses across the UK haven’t had an easy time recently; not only are many fighting to survive after the pandemic of the last two years, but they have also had to deal with an energy crisis, increasing inflation and the potential of a recession looming, as well as the threat of ongoing rising costs due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
This is not just being felt by the big corporations; small businesses are under just as much pressure. These events have ensured that the need for small businesses to implement a disaster recovery plan is no longer a choice. It is now a necessity to ensure that should the worst happen, they are able to respond and recover from a disaster quickly, with as little impact on business operations as possible.
What is a disaster recovery (DR) plan?
A disaster recovery plan is a structured, documented approach that details how a business is able to either keep going or restore operations should an unplanned ‘disaster’ occur, such as a security breach.
It is formed as part of a business continuity plan (BCP) and sets out a step-by-step process for each business department of the actions that should be taken to get systems and mission-critical applications back up and running again, quickly and efficiently. This will ensure any downtime is minimised from a reputation, operation and financial aspect, thereby reducing the damage that the disaster may cause to the business. A DR plan can also help businesses ensure they meet all their requirements for compliance.
The objectives of a DR plan are two-fold:
- A recovery point objective (RPO) that sets out how far back the business needs to go in recovering data to be able to efficiently operate, and also defines how much data has been lost from the last data backup.
- A recovery time objective (RTO) which defines the time it will take to recover the necessary data and how long before normal business operations can be sufficiently restored for all users.
A key aspect of any disaster recovery plan is a secure backup solution that is designed to regularly, and automatically, backup a business’s data. This will ensure that the above two objectives can be met.
Disaster recovery plan formats
There are several types of DR plans that are usually tailored to the business, but include:
- A network disaster recovery plan is designed to recover the business’s network. The detailed recovery procedure, which must be regularly reviewed and tested, focuses on recovering data that is specific to ensuring the business’s network is restored.
- A data centre disaster recovery plan focuses on recovering the data centre facility and the business’s infrastructure. An active part of this DR plan is ensuring elements, such as power systems, security, the building location and office space, are the centre of business recovery.
- A cloud disaster recovery plan is aligned with a business’s cloud applications, such as file backups which are often kept in the cloud. It is essential with this plan that the location of physical and virtual cloud servers is detailed. Security is also a key element of this plan.
- A virtualised disaster recovery plan is a much simpler and efficient way to manage a DR plan in that it is easier to create a virtualised environment that replicates a business’s operations quickly.
What to include in a disaster recovery plan for a small business?
There are certain aspects that should be incorporated into a DR plan for a small business:
- The objectives for the DR plan must be set out, i.e. what is the focus of the plan and when it should be implemented.
- The scope of the DR plan must also be detailed, such as which business services and locations are included.
- List the internal and external people that need to be told about the DR plan, including employees, managers and department heads, customers and suppliers. The plan should include their duties should it need to be implemented.
- Set out the type of disaster that is considered an incident response and likely to trigger the DR plan.
- Detail, step-by-step, the DR procedures, or actions, required for each type of incident.
- If there is an alternative place of work should the DR plan be implemented, the alternative location needs to be detailed.
- Any insurance policies the company holds need to be detailed in the DR plan, including emergency contact numbers and policy references.
- Lastly, because the DR plan should be regularly reviewed, tested and updated, a DR plan review needs to describe how often the plan will be checked.
Depending on your business function, you may have other elements that need to be included in your DR plan, such as company vehicles.
Benefits of a disaster recovery plan
Whether it’s a natural disaster, a pandemic, worldwide conflict, a cyber breach or any disaster that threatens the continuing operations of your business, establishing and implementing a disaster recovery plan has many advantages. Business continuity planning, which includes a DR plan, brings these benefits to a small business:
- Enables your business to continue trading during and following an incident,
- Allows your business to recover sufficient data and applications more quickly.
- Reduces the costs associated with the duration of an incident – the longer the duration, the greater the cost.
- Mitigates financial exposure and business risks.
- Builds customer and supplier trust and confidence.
- Protects your business’s reputation.
- Builds confidence within your business’s teams.
- Enables your business to comply with any legal or regulatory requirements.
- Insures against any unacceptable risks.
- Potentially saves lives, should the disaster be a dangerous incident, such as a fire.
A well thought out disaster recovery plan that understands the impact incidents can have on a small business, including the people, assets and processes that are critical to ensure operations continue, ensures the quick and efficient recovery of a business.
Company or individual insolvency is not something that anyone wants to deal with; however, the sooner a financial problem is recognised, the sooner it can be dealt with and the more potential the company has in recovering. If you are struggling with debt, are considering winding up a solvent company or declaring bankruptcy, contact Simple Liquidation for assistance. For more information on how our professional insolvency practitioners may be able to help your business, contact us today.