Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) is a business function that details the measures required to restore technical infrastructures and services following disruption or disaster.

The key objective is to minimize the impact that such an event will have on the business.

Planning for Disaster

A well thought out disaster recovery plan is built around the requirements and circumstances of an individual business, as well as the potential damages and degree of risk and exposure that their IT infrastructures are exposed to.

The advantages of disaster recovery planning (DRP) can be numerous, touching upon many spheres of the business:

  • Ability to maintain, or resume, operational trading;
  • Safeguarding reputation, brand and image;
  • Reducing downtime through the mitigation of disasters;
  • Prevents loss of customers to competitors due to inability to trade;
  • Increases confidence of associates, clients, investors and business partners.

Developing a disaster recovery plan

An effective DRP can be achieved by carrying out the following five steps:

  • Identify the core elements of the firm, including finance, business processes, human resources and information technology.
    Assign monetary values for each asset or element using an Annual Loss Expectancy (A.L.E.) calculation - multiplying the potential frequency of a disaster occurring by the expected sterling (GBP) loss per instance
  • Prioritize these area, focusing on those directly affecting the bottom line.
    Assign responsibilities for each of these spheres to suitable personnel
  • Define what customers, suppliers and stakeholders expect, particularly in terms of contractual obligations.
    Conduct 'what if' scenario planning to determine suitable responses for various disasters or emergencies (anything that can destroy or render resources or data inoperable is a potential disaster)
  • Communicate the strategy throughout the firm, ensuring the necessary resources are adequately prepared.
    Test and review the strategy at least annually or as significant internal changes occur
  • Endeavour to integrate this planning and control process into every element of business planning and operation, allowing DR plans to grow in step with the business and its changing requirements

A well structured and rehearsed disaster recovery plan provides system administrators and managers with the peace of mind that if the worst really does occur, steps are already in place to turn what would be for many a major disaster into a minor inconvenience.