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Creating A Disaster Recovery Plan for A Small Business

The coronavirus pandemic forced many small businesses to close their doors. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), approximately 40% of small businesses do not reopen after disaster strikes. A disaster puts your business at risk of losing data or suffering major loss, and can include things like a virus outbreak, hurricane, cyberattack, or burglary. As a small business it is important to be prepared and take preventative steps to ensure the recovery of essential IT data and maintain stability of key business functions. Creating a disaster recovery plan for maintaining business continuity can help in surviving the unexpected.



What is a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)?

A disaster recovery plan is a strategic unit in business continuity, which provides a set of procedures to enact when your small business is faced with an unplanned emergency or natural disaster. A DRP should include specific steps and strategies to implement for recovering your business’ important information and continuing communications.

Business contingency planning to reduce risk includes: 

  • Recovery goals and objectives for maintaining continuity
  • Key contacts and responsible personnel
  • Identifying potential threats
  • Recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO)
  • Detailed action strategy 
  • Employee training and testing
While creating a small business DRP can seem complex and time consuming, being prepared in the face of an emergency will help minimize the negative effects a potential threat could cause for your company.
Minimize Disruptions with the Cloud

The less infrastructure you have on-site, the less it can affect your business during a disaster.



Advantages of a Disaster Recovery Plan

Not having a disaster recovery plan for your small business puts you at risk to suffer major losses when an emergency occurs.
A DRP can provide your organization with more than just being prepared.

Some benefits for creating a disaster recovery plan are:

1. Maintaining Customer Retention

With modern technology, people are accustomed to instant gratification when searching for information, buying products online, or reaching out to customer service. It can be frustrating if a business is offline or if its server is experiencing downtime. A disaster recovery plan can help your business maintain its quality of service and resiliency in the time of disruption.

2. Reducing Financial Impact

In addition to managing efficient customer service, a disaster recovery plan can save you money long-term. Creating a strong DRP will help your business recover quicker, which in turn will minimize your financial loss. Also, implementing a cloud-based communications solution can greatly reduce the monetary costs and overall stress for your small business by addressing all business phone system communication needs. Continuity cloud management will assist in effectively maintaining an infrastructure for both employees and clients.

3. Improved Inventory Management

A disaster recovery plan will require you to document all your IT equipment. Having a detailed inventory will give you an idea of the vital equipment that will be required to recover from a disaster quickly. It will also be useful in case you need to report any losses to insurance or the Small Business Administration (SBA). This is another place where cloud-based solutions can benefit you greatly. The less IT equipment you have on-site, the less of it you have to inventory, and the less of it can be affected by a physical disaster.

4. Better Security

In an emergency, your team may be able to quickly figure out ways to coordinate and stay in touch. However, planning ahead will ensure you keep things secure. Not only can you keep sensitive physical information from your business’s locations safer (including sensitive information at employee home offices in affected areas), but you can also ensure that your digital communications and information stay safe—there’s a big difference in the security of people using ad-hoc consumer chat, calling, collaboration and file sharing capabilities, vs. already having a business cloud continuity communications system in place for security and privacy from the ground up.
Is remote working part of your plan?

Check out a host of tools, tips and strategies for keeping everyone connected, no matter where they are.





Now that you understand what a disaster recovery plan is and how it benefits your small business, make sure to follow this checklist when putting together your DRP.


1. Create a Disaster Recovery Team

Before starting to plan, you will need to put together a team of employees to be the main points of contact when a disaster strikes. This team can be made up of leaders from each department or volunteer employees. The disaster management team will ensure the continuity plan is up to date, implement its strategies when needed, and keep others safe during emergency procedures.


2. Develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

An EAP is a written document that outlines the procedures to take during an emergency or evacuation. It specifies the designated escape routes, key contacts, where to go, and how to continue operations if possible. The main purpose of an emergency action plan is to keep your employees safe during and after a disaster. Ensure all employees are trained to understand the EAP.


3. Inventory All Equipment

Having a current inventory of all resources and equipment will make it easy to determine what systems are critical to your business and can help you recover the quickest.


4. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis helps your company figure out all possible threats and resulting consequences on your business. It is important to understand the possible effects a disaster could impose. During recovery strategy analysis, your goal is to establish all potential risks, including:


Determine which departments and systems are critical to your operations, and what resources are needed to continue functioning.


5. Establish Recovery Goals

During this step in your disaster recovery planning, your small business will need to decide what its recovery goals are. How quickly you want to be functional again and the amount of inventory, downtime, or data you can afford to lose during a disruption. Determine two main components:


Each of these objectives can help you pinpoint what type of strategies are needed for your disaster recovery plan.


6. Establish Systems for Business Recovery

In this strategic planning step, identify the items needed in order to recover from different types of disasters. This includes plans for an alternative worksite, digital tools, data backups, how to file for damages, employee contact through cloud communications and reaching customers and vendors. Design an infrastructure that would support these crucial elements to maintain business continuity.


7. Backup Your Data

It cannot be stressed enough for informational security. Backing up important records and data is an essential step in your small business disaster recovery plan. Decide which cloud based solution will best serve your company when storing data and preparing for the unforeseen.


8. Review Insurance Policies

Understanding your small business’ insurance policies and coverages will benefit you after an emergency occurs. Make sure your insurance coverage includes things like damages and repairs to your building, indirect costs associated with the disruption of business or loss of income. There may be additional policies you need to buy depending on your region, like flood insurance. Include a detailed summary of your insurance in your DRP to ensure there are no gaps in coverage and understand what you need for your business.


9. Employee Training and Testing

Implementing a continuity management system with repeat testing is a great way to ensure your DRP is foolproof. Testing will aid in training all employees how to handle emergency situations. Gather feedback from your team during training and testing, so that you can make improvements if necessary.

While no one has a way of knowing when an emergency can occur, your business can prevent the negative effects caused by disasters by creating and implementing a disaster recovery plan. A DRP will help maintain employee communications, vendor and customer retention, minimize costs, and preserve important data for your small business.





How Mitel Technology Can Help


Mitel technology can help your small business with its disaster recovery plan by providing reliable and secure technology to keep your business running after a disruption. Mitel’s MiCloud Connect helps your team stay connected through messaging, conferencing and file sharing, all while allowing you to provide quality customer service using advanced call controls from a mobile or desktop phone.

MiCollab is another collaboration software that can benefit you in your recovery plan needs by providing you the ability to access your business’ communications whenever and wherever you need them. Its features make it easier to stay functioning and connected with employees and stakeholders.

Learn more about our small business solutions >

More Information on Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity



3 Reasons Why the Cloud Is Every Business's Ultimate Safety Blanket >

5 Ways to Avoid Network Failure in the Digital Era >

5 Ways to Improve Business Continuity: Full Video >

5 Ways to Improve Business Continuity Tip Sheet >

Blog Posts about Reliability & Redundancy >

Building Culture & Collaboration for the Next Normal, Chapter 2: Managing Your Business Through the Phases of a Crisis >

Building Culture & Collaboration for the Next Normal, Chapter 4: Transitioning Out of Band-Aid Crisis Communications  Technology >

Checklist for Creating A Disaster Recovery Plan for A Small Business >

Emergency Remote Work Planning and Preparedness >

How Can I.T. Support a Workforce in Crisis? >

How to Achieve Business Continuity During a Crisis >

Is a Business Continuity Plan Really Worth It? >

Mitel Mass Notification System >

Network Performance is Key to Avoiding Costly Downtime >

Simple Military Tips for Building Stronger Business Teams in a Crisis >

What to Do: An Emergency at the Office >

What to Do: An Emergency on Campus >




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