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8 Essential Elements of a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Plan

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

As businesses rely more and more on technology and electronic data for their daily operations, the amount of data and information technology infrastructure lost to disasters appears to also be increasing. In fact, businesses are estimated to lose revenue and incur expenses every year due to disasters, unpreparedness, and lost productivity. Therefore, it is paramount that measures must be taken to protect one’s business from such disasters.

One way a business can prepare and protect itself from disasters is to create and implement a Business Continuity Disaster Recover (BCDR) plan! Organizations should create a disaster recovery plan that can address any type of disaster. The plan should be easy to follow and understand, and be customized to meet the unique needs of the organization.

So here are 8 elements you should include or consider in a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery plan:

#1: Pull Together a Dedicated Disaster Recovery Team

Because of the priority needed to be given to developing a disaster recovery plan and updating and testing it over time, it is therefore imperative to form a dedicated disaster recovery team from employees and managers across all parts of the organization. This team will be responsible for developing, implementing, updating, and testing the plan to ensure that the company can quickly recover from a disaster.

Moreover, the team should clearly state each team member’s role and contact details in the document containing the plan’s details. This plan should also identify who is the first contact point in the event of a disaster.

#2: Identify Disaster Risks

Now, after forming the team, you will need to come together to clearly list down and identify the probable types of disaster risks your business might face.

In Singapore, natural disasters are not a common issue, so preparation for it is not as high a priority on the list. However, disasters like cybercrime and security breaches have become more frequent and sophisticated. Thus, organizations must identify and assess such disaster risks. Additionally, the ability to quickly handle incidents can reduce downtime and minimize financial and reputational damage, which is critical to organizational success. Succinctly stated, the ability to identify potential risks is integral to creating a data recovery and protection strategy.

Some examples of disasters that businesses in Singapore should plan for are:

  • Application and server failure

  • Networking and communications failure

  • A data center disaster

  • Data leaks

  • Cyber attacks/ hacks

  • Power failures

The list goes on really. However, do also note that not all of these possible disasters will apply to every individual organization. Therefore, it is essential to identify the potential risks applicable to YOUR business and work from there.

#3: Disaster Recovery Plan: Role Assignments

Here’s the thing: employees have a critical role to play in re-establishing operations following a disaster. The effectiveness of your communication and role assignments can increase or decrease your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), the projected duration your business needs to restore operations within.

Hence, all company employees should have access to the completed plan, be aware of what it contains, and understand their individual roles in the event of a disaster.

They need to understand exactly what their role is and who is responsible for setting up workstations, procuring equipment that was damaged, redirecting phone services, assessing damages, and updating clients, as well as assessing data loss.

With clear assignments and expectations in place, your team can work more efficiently to bring systems back online and minimize negative impacts following a disaster.

#4: Disaster Recovery Plan for Physical Equipment

Though Singapore is not exposed to seasonal natural disasters like hurricanes or tornados, manmade disasters like fires or water pipe leakage may still occur. Thus, it is still important to have a plan in place that protects your equipment from these scenarios.

The first step is safeguarding your electronics from water damage, which means moving any equipment off the floor, and creating a barrier against water by wrapping electronics securely with heavy-duty plastic wrap.

If able, we recommend sealing your equipment in waterproof containers or bringing critical hardware like servers off-site to a safer location.

#5: Complete Inventory of Hardware/Software/Other Equipment

Data continuity is essential for every company, large or small, as it provides business systems resilience in every aspect. Taking an inventory of your data storage locations is a critical step when creating your disaster and recovery plan.

You’ll need to document and understand where exactly your data is stored, who has access, and what data is vital to business operations versus non-critical files or systems.

For a truly effective data continuity plan, you’ll need to ensure that your business is utilizing regularly scheduled image backups of your servers and critical workstations, preferably in the cloud or off-site, to ensure a backup copy is always available and unaffected by a local event.

#6: Backup Testing and Validation Procedure

Your disaster recovery plan is only as good as the outcome of your last test. Be sure to backup your data in regular intervals – it is recommended to complete a full backup of all servers at least on a weekly basis (or monthly at least if weekly is too time-consuming).

Also, be sure to follow what is known as the “3-2-1 data backup rule” – keep at least three (3) copies of your data, and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located offsite.

Why do we need redundancies? Simple – technology fails and accidents happen. By following the 3-2-1 data backup rule, you reduce vulnerabilities from a corrupt backup, hardware failure or a disaster.

#7: Temporary Backup Server Strategy on the Cloud

Any Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provider worth their weight will implement off-site cloud-based backups using a system which allows your team to take advantage of Instant-On Server technology to spin up an exact clone of your server in the cloud so that your employees can support business goals and continue working in the wake of a disaster.

Server replication can cut your hardware recovery times from days to less than 15-minutes, potentially saving your brand image and company thousands in lost productivity.

#8: A Comprehensive Testing Strategy

Here’s the thing. Backing up is one thing, but testing your backup is a complete different thing.

Don’t wait for an actual disaster to find out whether your Disaster Recovery Plan works. Implement a comprehensive testing strategy now (and actually use it). Your strategy should accomplish three objectives:

  1. Test your backups to make sure your data is protected and recoverable

  2. Test your disaster recovery processes to make sure they work

  3. Test your people to make sure they know what to do in a real emergency

No organization wants to find itself digging out of a disaster, but the reality is that ransomware attacks, and good old-fashioned human error can happen at any time.

Want to invest in a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Plan for your business today? Click the green button below to get in touch or find out more now!


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