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Why is a Disaster Recovery Plan Important?

Filed under Hardware, Managed Services

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

At the most basic level, a Disaster Recovery Plan is a document prepared by IT Staff with step-by-step instructions on how to restore all IT systems back to their previous functional state in the event of a site disaster.


The DRP is usually composed of these parts:

  1. DRP Team, this is usually composed of key business leaders, IT Staff and the building Facilities group with their business and personal cell numbers.
  2. DRP Trigger, what triggers the DRP. Is it a complete site disaster or only the Computer Room being destroyed that triggers the DRP? Or maybe if even one critical system goes down?
  3. Description of all IT systems, software and their importance.
  4. Detailed instructions on how to restore all IT systems.
  5. Network Topology (Logical and Physical Diagrams)
  6. Hardware Estimates (if IT hardware has to be repurchased)
  7. Communication Instructions to employees
  8. Contact Information – Key Vendors (Data Storage company, Facilities or Building Management company, Insurance company, Internet Provider, Hotel, Taxi, etc.)


The DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) is not to be confused with the BCP (Business Continuity Plan). The BCP is usually written by the key business leaders (Managers, Directors) and is focused on the whole company and how it functions (i.e. where are people going to work after a disaster, processes like payroll, financials, etc.) in the event of a site disaster.


What is a BCP (Business Continuity Plan)

The business continuity plan takes the disaster recovery plan one step further. This plan outlines how the business will continue its operations after the disaster. It also outlines how the business will continue its operations after smaller, less disastrous events, such as power outages. The plan outlines how and where the business will operate if it is forced to move to a temporary location. It identifies the long-term, crucial strategies that are needed to ensure that the business maintains stability and generates profits.


Surprising Business Disaster Statistics from Mel Gosling and Andrew Hiles

Mel Gosling (Managing Director of Merrycon Ltd, which specializes in providing Business Continuity products and services)

Andrew Hiles (Executive Director at Kingswell International; author of Business Continuity Management – Best Global Practices has a extensive table of statistics)

Mel and Andrew found a few interesting statistics below about small businesses that go out of business soon after after a disaster:

Quote Source: Sources given as Contingency Planning, Strategic Research Corp and DTI/PWC  (2004) and is widely quoted in Diana  Shepstone, National Data Awareness Project (2007).
I thought the most likely source was DTI / PWC Security Breaches Technical 2004, but could not find these figures. In the 2006 report it said:
Only one in twenty large companies (and no very large ones) could operate their businesses without IT systems.  This rises to one in six small businesses that could continue their businesses without IT.


  • Chubb Security “Over 70% of businesses involved in a major fire either do not reopen, or subsequently fail within 3 years of fire.”

Consider these odds: one out of two businesses never returns to the marketplace following a major disaster. Of those that do, half go bankrupt within three years. The ones that survive plan their response to a disaster before it strikes.http://www.chubb.com/…. as at Oct 3, 2008

Quote Source: Chubb did not provide details of where this statistic came from. Mel contacted Chubb by email to ask for their source. A Chubb spokesperson responded: “This was something that was frequently quoted by the Arson Prevention Bureau in their Statistics pages. I have just revisited their site, having not been on it in the last 12 months, and noticed that they have now changed their wording to say: ‘Many businesses never entirely recover – losing orders, contracts, key employees or may go out of business resulting in lost jobs and services to the community’. So I think [we will] make changes to our website to reflect their change.


The Bottom Line: If you don’t have a DRP you are putting your company’s existence and your employee’s jobs at risk in the event of a disaster.


Story about a small business that survived 9/11 because they had a contingency plan:

Business owner Donna Childs, said her company office on Wall Street was about four blocks away from the World Trade Center that the hijacked planes slammed into the two towers on September 11, 2001. She said she was well-prepared for a disaster, and was able to keep her financial services business, Childs Capital LLC, operating nearly without interruption.

Childs said she had previously spent time working for a large Reinsurance company in Zurich, Switzerland, where she learned the importance of having contingency plans in place.

Following the terrorist attacks, she immediately activated her previously prepared business and communication backup plans. Those included access to all of the company’s computer files, which had been backed up off-site.

See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/1428-recovering-september-11-terrorist-attack.html#sthash.gplNnpIw.dpuf



If you didn’t know what a DRP was or how important it is for every business to have one hopefully this blog has been helpful to you.

If you don’t have a DRP or perhaps you do have a DRP but are concerned its not as comprehensive as you like by all means let us know at hello@quercussolutions.com and we will be happy to discuss your DRP needs. Keep in mind Quercus Solutions has seasoned IT Infrastructure professionals with years of experience with IT Infrastructure and in the creation of DRP Plans.

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