Disaster recovery plans aren't written in stone, nor should they be. As your business grows and evolves, so should your recovery plans. Here are ten events that will require you to update your disaster recovery plan:
Vendor or utility provider turnover
A good disaster recovery plan should include all the contact information for your vendors and utility providers, as well as their specific protocols for disaster situations. Anytime your company makes changes in these areas, make sure the plan is updated with the newest information.
Additional staff or departments
If you have expansion plans that require the addition of new staff members or even entire departments, your plan should be changed to reflect that. Make sure the plans for restoring the new department is in place and the department head and other key personnel understand their roles.
One way to streamline this process is adding disaster recovery training to you new hire process. This will ensure that all new employees are instantly prepared for a disaster event.
Hardware and software changes
Any infrastructure change should prompt a review of your recovery plan. New hardware and software can be so specific in their requirements that plans in place for the prior components are basically obsolete as soon as the changeover occurs.
If your make structural changes to your physical location, your plan needs to be updated for certain items. These include updated floor plans, emergency exit routes and the locations of key recovery equipment, like backup generators, fuse boxes, valves, first aid kits, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Also, if your renovations require you to make any changes to the locations of HVAC, plumbing or electrical equipment, your plan should reflect these changes.
Significant changes in your company's IT budget may affect the importance of data in your plan. For example, a budget increase may require you to prioritize the recovery of more data than you had previously planned. Also, changes in data priorities may affect existing service agreements between you can your clients, so make sure those are taken into account in the plan.
Anytime the government passes new regulations that could potentially affect your business, like OSHA changes or credit card processing rules, update your disaster plans accordingly.
Insurance policy updates
Changing insurance providers or policy coverage should prompt a revisions of your plan. New companies may have differing procedures and new policies may change the importance of a piece of hardware or business component to your recovery, which all needs to be accounted for in the plan.
How your data is backed up is key to ensuring that your company gets back up and running as soon as possible. If you add off-site backup capabilities or change locations, especially if it switches from a hot site to a cold site or vice versa. Recovery procedures can vary based on these and other factors, so make sure your plan changes as well.
Data backup methods and frequency
Changing how your data is stored, like moving between tapes and virtual machines, or changing how often your data is backed up is important to account for. Make sure your plans are updated for the changes as well as if your capacity requirements spike suddenly.
With any type of data backup changes, make sure they're tested regularly to ensure they'll work when you need them to.
RTO or RPO revisions
RTO, or recovery time objective, is the maximum period of time your company can afford to be down. RPO, or recovery point objective, is the maximum amount of data you're willing to lose in a recovery. As your company revises both of these goals, then your disaster recovery plans needs to be adjusted to be able to meet or exceed these objectives.
The best way to ensure that your disaster recovery plan is always up to date is to seek the help of a disaster recovery consulting service.