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How to Craft a Data Disaster Recovery Plan

Updated on March 13, 2009

"Be Prepared for the Worst

Taken from Flickr. Creative Commons
Taken from Flickr. Creative Commons

How to craft a data recovery plan

It seems that more often we are looking at disaster situations around the world with catastrophic flooding, tornados, earthquakes, and fires.  Terrorist attacks should also be kept in consideration.  Communities of all sizes are taking steps to be prepared for the worst in terms of crafting plans for data recovery in the event of such a problem.  Businesses, city offices, and individuals should all be prepared in order to recover valuable information. 

First and foremost, a backup of information should always be in place.  Businesses and information centers tend to store their data on multiple drives and storage devices that may include client information, accounting data, and other vital information that is crucial in order to run efficiently.  Backups should be made at regular intervals, even daily, and sent to tape or other devices and stored off site.  These systems should be updated regularly at their offsite location as well.  There are outsources available that will provide these services should the company needs be quite large. 

Precautionary measures that can be taken in addition to information backup are the constant use of surge protectors and an uninterrupted power supply or back-up generator in the event of mass outages.  Anti-virus software and software protection programs prevent hackers from stealing vital documents and other information if high security is necessary.  Constant surveillance of the system is also necessary in order to keep the contents in working order.

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a common term for the logistical plans that keep a business running with little interruptions in the event of disasters.  When the backup plans have been analyzed for efficiency, then a printed manual can be created that contains all contact information of the company officers and members with the location of all backups, client contacts, insurance policies, or any other critical information that in necessary for the company to run.  The manual will include any directives and initiatives that may need to be taken as well to recover data. 

When creating a data recovery plan, the time it takes to have all systems back and running should be taken into account along with the requirements necessary to make it happen.  This planning should look at various scenarios and how they can affect the location, particularly if it includes multiple locations.  A command structure and access planning should be detailed for all those involved, especially with a worst-case scenario. 

It is also imperative that the BCP be updated periodically to reflect changes in staffing, locations, or business practices.  All members should also receive updated training to ensure the efficiency of the data recovery plan.  With all the cogs in place and in excellent working order, then any business or community will be able to recover much faster.  The key to a successful data recovery plan will be thoughtful planning and well tested execution. 


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