Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning tend to be two areas businesses neglect, usually because no one wants to think of the nightmare an emergency fire, flood, earthquake, power outage, etc. can cause to a medical practice/business entity, and, because not thinking about it and planning for it can prevent it from happening- NOT.
Disaster recovery planning is centered on how your business will recover from a catastrophic event. Business continuity planning concerns the activities that are required to keep your organization operating during a time of business disruption.
Preparing both of these plans can be a daunting task, however, both are critical to the sustainability of a business. Any interrupting on the organization's daily functions can have a negative impact on it's employees, clients, patients, business associates, and many others. Being proactive and not reactive in an emergency situation is crucial.
Like any good preparatory experience, you need to start with a good plan. This plan should include the following components:
- A committee in a large organization, or a person in a small organization, to have responsibility for developing and implementing the Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans. These committees will be responsible for determining what steps will be taken and what outside vendor services will need to be brought in, should a disaster occur.
- Recovery strategies objectives must be set. These will include recovery time and recovery point parameters. Recovery time is a hypothesis of how long it will take for your business to be restored. Recovery point is the point in time you must recover the data and what will constitute an acceptable loss.
- Now it is time to put the plan in writing. Many organizations choose to purchase a software package that has everything documented and can help with the recovery process. If you choose to write your own plan, be sure that it includes an emergency management policy, listing communications, life safety issues, and property protection; a checklist of emergency response procedures, emergency call lists, building blueprints, and site maps; and, your vendors list for emergency supplies and services.
- The final phase of your plan should be testing and training. This step should be reviewed annually, or anytime you add new services, change personnel, add new products, change or expand facilities, or make technological changes/additions.