What to Do if Your Disaster Recovery Plan Fails

What to Do if Your Disaster Recovery Plan Fails

Disaster recovery is a key component of any business continuity plan. The problem is that disaster recovery plans aren't created equal, and many fail. Here are some tips for strengthening your disaster recovery strategy and what to do if your plan fails. 

What is a disaster recovery plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a blueprint for dealing with an unplanned event and its potentially negative consequences for your organization. It's a guidebook, or a plan, which sets out how you'll restore or maintain critical business functions in a crisis. 

Some 95% of businesses have some form of a disaster recovery plan, although some are far more effective than others. Let's look at why. 

Why disaster recovery plans fail 

The goal of a disaster recovery plan is to minimize business interruption and downtime. Why, then, do so many plans fail? 

A leading cause is simply lack of preparation. 68% of businesses recently surveyed admitted they don't have a written disaster recovery plan, despite knowing that it can take up to three months to recover from a disaster. 

Three months could be the difference between your business surviving and failing -- if you don't prepare to succeed, you prepare to fail. 23% of businesses admit to never testing their plan, which leaves them vulnerable to internal problems if disaster strikes. 

Your disaster recovery plan failed. Now what? 

Backup is critical to an effective disaster recovery plan. Here are a few strategies for ensuring your data is properly backed up and easily accessible in a time of crisis

Special backups 

Special backups run outside your normal backup routine. They allow you to test your backup procedure by replicating the data you need for the test itself. While this is handy as part of your overall recovery testing, you shouldn't rely on it as proof that your strategy works. 

There's no substitute for testing your entire backup plan across every platform. 

Cloud storage 

Don't just rely on external hard drives or portable devices for backing up your data. These structures are easily destroyed, particularly if there's a storm or other natural disaster. At a minimum, your critical data should be stored on a cloud and there should be access to a second server. 

An IT services provider can help you devise the right mix of backup storage options for your business needs. 

Test execution speed 

Even the most comprehensively backed up system is no use if it takes far too long to reload your business data. If you don't test how quickly you can get online again after a disaster, you're leaving your business vulnerable to days, or even weeks, of costly downtime. 

Some 10% of companies recently surveyed lost over $100,000 to unnecessary downtime -- don't become part of the statistic. Test your disaster recovery execution speeds today. 

Questions to ask

Before you sign off on the effectiveness of your disaster recovery strategy, ask the following questions: 

  • Is all the data I need backing up? 
  • Is the data backed up somewhere easily accessible? 
  • Do I have a plan if these backups fail? 
  • Do I know where I can turn to for help? 

The list of questions is not exhaustive. What matters is that you know exactly where your backed up data is, how to find it, and what to do if your first line of defense fails. 


The best way to ensure your disaster recovery plan works is to test it regularly. Don't wait until a real disaster strikes to assess your responsiveness -- take full control of your recovery planning now. For more information on disaster recovery strategies and assessments, contact us today. 

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