Disaster Recovery Plan for CIO and IT Managers

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Anticipating and creating processes to navigate turbulent times relieves most of the pressure during a disaster. Effectively preparing for such times makes a difference to the customers’ and employees’ experiences as well as the business’ performance.

CIOs have their hands full when preparing annual strategies and spending plans. Reviewing the disaster recovery and business continuity plan seems like yet another item on the to-do list. However, with ever-increasing threats to organizations’ systems, one cannot help but wonder if there is more that IT departments can do to deal with disasters.

The statistics on businesses that do not have a disaster recovery policy is shocking. 1 in 3 admits to not having a recovery policy in place. For small businesses, the picture is grim; 3 out of 4 are not prepared to deal with business disruptions.

Businesses are increasingly reliant on technology despite acknowledging potential downtimes and other risks. In case of a disaster caused by technical disruptions or other issues, the CIO or IT manager should take responsibility for disaster recovery.

Unusual events not only affect IT departments but also daily operations. A business’s finance, customer service, and human resource departments are equally affected. The workflow may be disrupted in the process.

CIOs must consult with C-suite members when devising a disaster management strategy. However, it is more effective to have input from members of all departments. The input should be continuous to guarantee an up to date disaster recovery plan.

Drawing knowledge and creativity from all business departments is a sure way of having a comprehensive plan for dealing with disasters. Below are several ways to have everyone on board when preparing a recovery strategy.

Have a Clear Chain of Command

On normal days, having strong management and clear processes encourages productivity. It enables the documentation and development of innovative work strategies. As a result, the company maintains a competitive edge.

However, when an unusual event occurs, do employees know what processes to follow? Whether the incident is as simple as disconnected internet or as complicates as theft of sensitive customer data, having a clear chain of command is as important as the recovery plan. Each employee should know who part of the recovery team is and when to contact them.

The CIO should oversee the creation of disaster recovery processes to ensure that they are clear and easy for employees to follow. Clarity and ease of implementation help employees to act fast and reduce potential damage.

Prepare Simple Checklists

Checklists reduce the complexity of tasks and make processes transparent. According to US doctor, writer, and speaker Atul Gawande, checklists reduce complications in hospital operations by 35%. Applying the same principle to the corporate world, teams can respond fast to a disaster.

A well-prepared checklist indicates actions to be taken in case of a disaster, in which order they should be performed, and by whom. Tasks that would have been otherwise complex to execute while panicking due to turbulence become simple and straightforward. It is easy to account for actions taken to remedy a situation.

After preparing simple checklists, the CIO must consider how to store them. They must be easily accessible by key players during an extraordinary event.

Regularly Test Recovery Strategies

A disaster recovery strategy is comparable to an insurance policy – you hope you will never need to claim on it, but you need reassurance that you are fully covered. Testing your recovery strategy regularly and changing it when necessary ensure that it works. Take time to rehearse roles using simulation exercises.

Because business environments change rapidly, a plan crafted a month ago may not be relevant today. It is necessary to monitor legislation and other circumstances that may affect your disaster recovery strategy.

Specific conditions such as product recalls, transfers of talented people, and missing data can affect the efficacy of a recovery strategy. New threats should always be factored into the disaster management plan as soon as they come up.

Collaborate to Create Effective Strategies

Collaborating across departments encourages everyone to work together in creating a unified checklist. Such an approach minimizes the impact of abnormal events. Front-line staff is best placed to advise on the potential impact of disruptions. Their input gives valuable information that customizes the disaster management plan.

CIOs should be in charge of creating a comprehensive and up to date response to disasters. By doing so, they can rest assured that the business is ready to deal with unexpected events. Instead of being overwhelmed by frantic support calls at the height of a disaster, there is tranquility as everyone implements the agreed recovery strategy.

Final Thoughts

Preparing in advance for a disaster guarantees an organized response to unexpected events. It improves customers’ and employees’ experience while guaranteeing business recovery. A good recovery strategy has positive implications for the business’ future performance.