Imagine a powerful storm results in power outages and damages to a particular region. With businesses at risk for downtime that could cost them in productivity and revenue, IT managers must develop a disaster recovery plan that minimizes risk of data and profit losses.

Disasters can happen at any time, with each hour of downtime potentially costing thousands. According to cloud software firm Infrascale, small companies may lose $8,000 per hour of downtime, mid-size companies could lose $74,000 per hour, and large enterprises can see profits drop as much as $700,000.

To prevent devastating business losses, here are five considerations for creating a solid disaster recovery plan:

1. What staff or resources are needed to keep operations running after a disaster?

In the event of an emergency, IT managers should have a list of staff tasked with data recovery and other similar duties to get systems back up and running. Not only do managers need to know the number of users to support throughout the recovery process, but they should also be aware of the resources or devices required to keep the company operational. These include storage, desktops, and other solutions.

2. Are there backups in place in case power or other connections go down?

To prepare for a power outage or other disaster, IT managers should focus on redundancy, such as having Ethernet connections available in case wireless services go down. The negative impact of a disaster can be exacerbated by low connection speeds, so plan accordingly.

3. How will the data center handle disaster?

In addition to making sure in-house devices and systems are ready for disasters, IT managers must have oversight over their data centers. Whether data centers are owned by companies themselves or operated through a third party, managers must communicate with these centers so they are prepared using their own available resources and staff.

4. Is the plan tested and maintained?

Having an emergency strategy in place is a good first step, but it should be tested among systems and personnel to make sure things go according to plan when disaster strikes. Consider virtual testing of the plan or developing shadow users to see how prepared the business is for emergencies. Furthermore, focus on maintaining the plan by having the right resources and staff at the ready at all times.

5. Is the plan documented in detail?

A plan is of little use if it’s not written down and distributed among all necessary staff and executives. Think of it like a trouble shooting guide with various scenarios spelled out depending on the department. Write down the steps toward disaster recovery and ensure personnel know their roles in in the event of incidents described in the plan.

It is critical for IT managers to prepare for a disaster based on resource requirements, organization size, and other specifications.

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