Businesses today face a variety of risks that can threaten operations and significantly damage their reputations. From natural disasters to cyberattacks, the unexpected can strike at any moment, leaving companies vulnerable to devastating consequences. The answer to avoid bigger problems is developing an IT disaster recovery strategy.

In this guide, you will learn what a disaster recovery plan is, why companies should have one in place and how you can create a strategy of your own, taking key attention points into consideration.

With the knowledge of the importance of a disaster recovery plan and the tools to implement a strategy yourself, you'll be prepared to face the common challenges modern businesses face.

What is an IT disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a comprehensive strategy and set of documented procedures that an organisation creates to ensure its ability to recover and continue its operations in the event of a disruptive incident or disaster.

The primary goal of a disaster recovery plan is to minimise downtime, data loss, and the overall impact of such incidents on the company's operations, reputation, and finances.

In a disaster recovery plan, companies take into consideration the potential risks and threats that could disrupt business operations and assess the potential consequences of these problems.

An effective plan should define specific recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), as well as establish procedures for regular data backups, both on-site and off-site, to ensure data can be restored in case of data loss or corruption.

A well-designed disaster recovery plan is essential for business continuity and resilience, allowing organisations to recover quickly from disruptions and minimise the financial and operational impact of disasters. It is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process that requires periodic testing and refinement to remain effective.

Why is it important to implement an IT disaster recovery plan?

Implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan is essential. It helps companies prepare for the unexpected, minimise the impact of disasters, protect critical assets, and ensure business continuity. It's not just a technical document but a strategic framework that contributes to an organisation's overall resilience and long-term success.

Minimising downtime

Disasters, whether natural or man-made, can disrupt business operations. A DRP helps minimise downtime by providing a structured approach to recovery, ensuring that critical systems and processes can be restored quickly.

Preserving data

Data is often a company's most valuable asset. A DRP includes data backup and recovery strategies to safeguard critical information. This prevents data loss and ensures data integrity, which is vital for business continuity and compliance.

Financial resilience

Downtime and data loss can result in substantial financial losses. A well-executed DRP can reduce the financial impact of a disaster by enabling the company to resume operations promptly, thereby minimising revenue loss and potential legal liabilities.

Maintaining customer trust

Customers expect uninterrupted service and data security. A company's ability to recover quickly from a disaster demonstrates reliability and commitment to its customers, helping maintain trust and loyalty.

Protecting reputation

Public perception of a company's resilience in the face of adversity can significantly impact its reputation. A well-prepared DRP can mitigate reputational damage by ensuring a company's response to a disaster is swift and effective.

Legal and regulatory compliance

Many industries have regulatory requirements regarding data protection and business continuity. Having a DRP that aligns with these regulations helps companies avoid fines and legal consequences.

Competitive advantage

Companies with robust DRPs may gain a competitive advantage. Customers and partners may prefer to work with businesses that demonstrate preparedness and reliability.

Operational continuity

Disasters can disrupt not only IT systems but also critical business processes. A DRP addresses both technology and business process recovery, ensuring that essential functions can continue.

Employee safety

Employee safety is paramount during a disaster. A DRP includes procedures for ensuring the safety of employees and their ability to work remotely or from alternate locations if necessary.

Supply chain management

Companies often rely on suppliers and vendors. A DRP can include strategies for managing and communicating with these partners during and after a disaster to minimise supply chain disruptions.

Risk mitigation

A DRP is a proactive risk mitigation strategy. By identifying potential risks and preparing for them in advance, companies can reduce the impact of disasters and increase their chances of survival.

Peace of mind

Knowing that there's a well-defined plan in place to handle disasters provides peace of mind to company leadership, employees, and stakeholders. This psychological assurance can help maintain focus and morale during challenging times.

How to develop an IT disaster recovery plan

Developing a robust disaster recovery strategy requires a systematic approach that encompasses various aspects of an organisation's operations.

Remember that a disaster recovery strategy is an ongoing process, not a one-time project. It requires dedication, resources, and a commitment to staying prepared for unforeseen events that could impact your business operations.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how companies can create their own disaster recovery strategy:

Leadership and commitment

Start with executive leadership buy-in. The commitment of top management is crucial for allocating resources and ensuring that the plan is a priority.

Risk assessment

Identify and assess potential risks and threats that could disrupt your business. This should include natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods, hurricanes), human-made incidents (e.g., cyberattacks, data breaches, fires), and other possible scenarios.

Understanding the risks is the foundation of the DRP, as it informs the strategies and priorities for recovery efforts.

Business impact analysis (BIA)

Conduct a BIA to determine the critical functions, processes, and assets within your organisation. Assess the impact of downtime and data loss on these critical components.

This analysis will help prioritise recovery efforts, ensuring that essential business functions are restored promptly.

Set objectives

Define specific recovery objectives, including Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs), which is the maximum allowable downtime for each critical function, and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs), which is the acceptable data loss in case of a disaster.

Clearly defined objectives set recovery expectations and guide resource allocation.

Data inventory and classification

Create an inventory of all data assets, categorising them based on importance and sensitivity. This will guide data backup and recovery efforts.

Data backup and recovery

Develop backup and recovery procedures. Determine what data needs to be backed up, how often backups should occur, where backups will be stored (on-site and off-site), and how data will be restored.

Protecting data is crucial for business continuity and minimising data loss during a disaster.

Redundancy and failover

Implement redundancy and failover mechanisms for critical systems and services. This may involve using redundant hardware, geographically diverse data centres, and load balancing to ensure continuous operations.

Redundancy reduces the risk of single points of failure, enhancing system availability.

Communication plan

Create a communication plan that outlines how you will notify employees, stakeholders, customers, and the public during and after a disaster. Ensure that contact information is up-to-date.

Effective communication is essential for managing a crisis and maintaining trust.

Personnel roles and responsibilities

Assign specific roles and responsibilities to individuals or teams within the organisation during a disaster. Ensure everyone knows their duties and has the necessary training.

Clearly defined roles prevent confusion and facilitate a coordinated response.

Testing and training

Regularly test the disaster recovery plan through simulations, drills, or tabletop exercises. Use these tests to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement. Provide ongoing training to employees.

Documentation and storage

Document all aspects of the disaster recovery plan, including procedures, contact lists, and recovery steps. Store this documentation securely, both physically and digitally.

Documentation is essential for quick reference and effective execution of the plan.

Vendor and service provider coordination

If your organisation relies on third-party vendors or service providers, ensure that their disaster recovery plans align with yours. Establish clear communication channels.

Ensuring that critical suppliers are prepared helps prevent disruptions in the supply chain.

Regulatory compliance

Ensure that your disaster recovery plan complies with relevant industry regulations and standards, such as HIPAA for healthcare or GDPR for data privacy.

Review and update

Continuously review and update the disaster recovery strategy to account for changes in technology, business processes, and evolving threats. Ensure that the plan remains current and effective, as an outdated plan may not adequately address new risks and vulnerabilities.


The importance of a well-structured Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) cannot be overstated. In an era where uncertainty looms large, where businesses are continually at risk from unforeseen disasters, and where data is the lifeblood of operations, having a DRP is not merely a best practice; it's a strategic imperative.

By investing time, effort, and resources into developing and maintaining a robust DRP, your organisation is taking proactive steps to ensure business continuity, protect valuable assets, and demonstrate a commitment to the safety and trust of your stakeholders.

Remember that disasters can strike when least expected, and a disaster recovery plan is an ongoing process, ensuring that your company is prepared for whatever comes your way.

If you need help understanding how to implement a DPR and what to consider, contact Stratiis and discover how we can auxiliate you in this process.