Do you want to learn how to prepare a business disaster recovery plan? Or you simple need a sample business disaster recovery plan template? Then I advice you read on as this article will help you out. After many years spent as a business owner, I have come to acknowledge the fact that shit happens and they happen fast. Certain factors beyond your control (such as natural and man-made disasters) can cause some extended service outages that may threaten your business.

In the event of such, a business disaster recovery plan will help restore your business to the widest extent possible within a minimum time frame. It details how your business will recover in the event of a small disaster such as a virus attack or a big one such as a hurricane.

Regardless of the size of your business, it’s very important to develop a business disaster recovery plan, which is the least insurance any company can have (as it costs virtually nothing to produce). This article will explains I detail how to develop a disaster recovery plan for your business that will improve your chances of continuing operations during or after significant disasters.

How to Prepare a Business Disaster Recovery Plan – Sample Template

1. Identify key roles and players and their backups

Your key players are the indispensable members of your business team whose absence may cause huge instability to your business. Make the list as small as possible, but large enough to include everyone that fits in. Identify which job positions are vital to the day-to-day running of your business and find a perfect substitute for the primary holder of that job position. This will help your business buffer any effects of the primary holder’s absence due to unforeseen circumstances.

In addition, you also need to get the contact details of these key individuals and their backups. This will help you contact the backups easily if emergencies force the primary holders out of duty. For each individual, get as many contact details and options as possible, as this will help you reach them in emergencies where normal communication might be unavailable.

2. Identify and list those who can telecommute

Having staff that can telecommute can keep your business running in the face of disaster. So, try to identify those people in your company that can perfectly play their roles from a home office and those who cannot. You might want to ensure that all your key staff can telecommute when necessary.

3. Note external contacts

If there are certain vendors or contractors that are critical to your business, make a list of such companies that includes the description, contact information, and other personnel information. You should include your attorneys, bankers, IT consultants, and others you may assistance from whenever crisis arises. Also, include utility companies such as police, water, fire, hospitals, etc.

4. Identify critical equipment and documents

You will need to identify your most important equipment and have a backup plan to execute when these equipment have problems. Consider backing up important files on DVDs or on cloud storage. Similarly, if your business cannot function without your fax machine, copier or some other equipment, put alternative devices in place.

In addition, you will need to identify critical documents such as articles of incorporation and other legal papers, banking information, utility bills, critical HR documents, tax returns, and so on.

5. Identify alternative property and sources of equipment

In case your primary offices are unavailable (for example, due to disaster), where will you use as your temporary office? Would you consider a hotel? Would your employees telecommute? You should try to give appropriate answers to these questions. Similarly, you must consider how you will source alternative equipment in case your some of your vital equipment—such as company trucks—develop faults.

6. Distribute tasks

Make a “how to” plan for implementing your business recovery after a disaster. Note vital steps to be taken that will help your business recover quickly. Also, list each responsibility alongside the name of the person assigned to it. Let each of your employees know about the plan so that everyone knows the roles expected of them should crisis arise.

7. Test and revise

Don’t wait until disaster strikes before you testing your disaster recovery plan. Pick a day to test your plan. For example, you can assume that your office building has just been destroyed by a fire. Check through your plan to see if you’ve really listed all the steps required to help your business recover fully from the disaster. Fix the parts of the plan that you didn’t get right at first until you’re satisfied with what you have.

You can test your plan weeks or months later to see if it would still work with various disasters. Also, effect necessary changes. For example, if the company you plan to rent a truck from (in case your truck picks fault) has relocated, you may need to switch to another company.