Content of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan

Drawing up a good Disaster Recovery plan and a Business Continuity plan involves the senior management of the Organization as well as the working staff and managers at various levels. While the management is responsible for giving the importance, focus and credibility to the DR & BC plans as well as providing the resources through budgets, the staff and all functional managers have a major role to play in lending their depth of knowledge, understanding and experience in estimating the risks as well as in drawing up the recovery implementation plan.

A good DR or BC plan should define and enumerate the following:

  1. Objective of the Plan, the validity of the plan and the review due date.

  2. State the sponsoring authority and list out the team responsible for the Planning and Implementation.

  3. State and establish who will be the authority to decide and declare a crises mode and thus initiate Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. The plan should also cover how and when such declaration will be affected.

    This section should clearly explain the various scenarios which qualify as a crises or a disaster to initiate DR & BC action plan. Every single event or occurrence in terms of a small fire or a system shutdown due to network failure or power situation need not qualify for a crisis if the impact is limited to a small department or section and can be set right within a short time. Therefore qualifying an event and deciding on whether to go into a crises and disaster recovery mode or not would have to be a decision to be taken by senior management who is able to understand the situation, estimate the impact and judge accordingly in consultation with the functional managers.

  4. The plan should establish very clear command structure and authority as well as responsibility levels in detail.

  5. The plan should define the process of recovery in detail and separately for each functional team. Besides it should clearly establish the priority of which process, business function or system should be recovered on priority in case of an occurrence or an event.

  6. A section of the plan should be dedicated to covering the contact details that would be required in case of emergency or crises. Such a list should include the contacts of all members in management/board along with the contact details of senior managers, business heads as well as key personnel.

    The list should also include emergency phone numbers of Fire station, Hospitals, Airport, Police, Ambulance and other such services.

    Against each department, the list of all vendors, their contacts and other communication details should be covered in detail.

  7. If the plan provides for any resource to be kept in reserve as a DR or BC backup, the same should be explained in the plan and details of its location etc should be provided.

  8. Like any manual, it is advisable to have a controlled release of the DR & BC Plans with provision to record the reviews and revisions.

  9. A detailed DR & BC plan should list out the schedule for trials and mock drills as a part of the implementation and readiness testing plan. Such mock drills should be a routine and repetitive exercise undertaken periodically with frequency determined based on the criticality of the process or business function.

A good DR or BC plan is one which can be read and auctioned by anyone following the detailed instructions given in the plan. A good plan shows and works towards a high level of readiness in dealing with a crises and provides for effective solutions.

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