Disaster Recovery Plan – Why it’s Necessary and What May Be Needed

*Disclaimer, this is informative, taking any advice from this, is at risk, and this has no guarantees or warranties, it’s just to get your head started in the right direction*

First thing’s first, you NEED a disaster recovery plan, no matter what size organization you are in. Also, you should be aware that taking a set of tapes home with you is NOT a disaster recovery plan by any length of the imagination. Your business cannot function if a disaster occurs and it cannot recover, so this is serious stuff.

where to start:

Assess the size of your organization:

if you have 1-5 servers will be completely different than if you have hundreds or thousands

Assess all possible disasters, and what is more likely in your area:

In Wisconsin for example there is a lower possibility of having communications stunted due to hurricanes, however anything is possible, and you must remember that, flooding is sometimes overlooked, when the servers are in the basement, or lower levels, and a dam breaks for example.

Disaster Recovery is more than IT:

sure all your servers are backed up, but if all the accounting is in a filing cabinet blown away by a tornado you are screwed. Find out what all the critical business processes are, and brainstorm of ways to come back from them.

Disaster recovery is more than just onsite:

How is your hosted website being backed up? As an IT Professional, assume it’s not, YOU need to manually, or with a script back this up automatically, just because it’s not a disaster in your computer room, does not mean that it won’t trickle down to your business.

Offsite Backups:

Backups need to be somewhere offsite, up high, in a dry, geographically separate location (2 blocks away does you no good when an earthquake/Volcano takes both buildings)

Onsite Backups:

have onsite backups that way the one lost file does not require a mail order, common sense, simple.

Backup all Systems:

Windows/Linux/UNIX everything, it’s the one that’s not backed up that you say “oh $h!+” about.

Contact List:

Have a contact list in your DR plan to get each service going in the event of an emergency, examples:

Internet Providers, Electricity, Vendors, Backup & Restore Specialists, Phone Providers

Prioritize What’s Important:

figure out what’s most important, usually ERP is first, followed by communications such as Phone, Email. (note that active directory is required for exchange, so that’s a higher priority than Exchange)

Determine the Recovery Timeline:

Determine the shortest and longest possible time for recovery, as this will determine your backup method. If you need quick, or instant redundancy, you should look at mirroring, and High-Availability across sites. if you want quick restores, in a few hours or less, go with disk backup of some sort. If the restore time does not matter at all, go with tape, as it will take forever, may need to re-try, tapes fail, etc.

Update the Plan Monthly:

All the other stuff is in Vein if the plan is not updated

Make the plan available to all DR members:

The DR plan will do no good if it’s in the backup somewhere, and you need to restore it before you can continue. Have it mailed to a remote location when updates occur, or have the plan available on some sort of offsite ftp, or Dropbox, etc.


This gives you a brief idea as to what your DR needs to be about, things to consider, etc. This should get you going in the right direction, a DR plan is usually 5-100 pages long, covering every little detail so think long and hard, and devise your plan.

for network assessments or a DR plan customized for your business visit www.zwiegnet.com/go to get started.