What should a disaster recovery plan cover and why is it important for small businesses to have one?

Posted By on June 17th, 2019

As a small business there are many things to consider – business premises, your business strategy and your insurance needs to name just a few. In addition, all small businesses must minimise risk and ensure the smooth running of their business.

As part of this you need to plan for what to do if a disaster were to strike. Research suggests that up to 80% of businesses never recovery from a disaster so it really couldn’t be more important to make sure it is an area that you have given sufficient consideration to.

What should you include in your disaster recovery plan?

If you have not created a disaster recovery plan for your business before it can seem like a significant task. Identifying which of your functions are key to your business continuity and carrying out a risk assessment to see where your potential vulnerabilities are can give you a good starting point.

Typically, a disaster recovery plan will map out the processes and procedures that you need to take in order to minimise the effects of a disaster on your business. It will usually take the form of a step by step guide to getting your business-critical systems back up and running as quickly as possible.

Key employees and their role in the disaster recovery plans

Key staff will be given roles and responsibilities in your disaster recovery plan so these need to be recorded and updated along with staff change overs. This means all staff are aware of the actions they need to take and when.

Communication requirements

Including to staff to inform them of whether to come into work or not, or to let them know to go to temporary offices. This may also include areas such as communication out to the media or your customers.


What are your time objectives to get functions back up and running? For example, if your IT systems go down how long can you feasibly be without these before needing to take further action or communicating the downtime to staff or customers.

What is your recovery point?

Identifying the point at which you need to recover back to is also important to consider. Whilst you may not be able to get everything back up and running instantly, knowing where you need to get back to in order to maintain business functionality is a good idea. This can be particularly important when it comes to your IT systems.

Why do businesses without a disaster recovery plan have less of chance of recovering?

Businesses with a robust and importantly, well tested, disaster recovery plan have been shown by research to have a better chance of recovering from a disaster than those that do not have a plan in place.

When faced with disaster, speed of action is the key to minimising the impact on your business and therefore downtime. Those who have a disaster recovery plan in place will have their main priorities mapped out and know where to focus their efforts. Key staff will know their roles and responsibilities and when and how to carry these out.

Without a disaster recovery plan, you may find that panic is your initial response. With no real focus or anyone in charge or with responsibility it will be hard to prioritise and get organised. All of which can lead to a slower response time and an increased likelihood of the disaster having more significant consequences for your business.

Can you outsource your disaster recovery planning to a third party?

If you don’t have the resources internally to carry out and implement a disaster recovery plan, then you may want to consider outsourcing this to a third-party supplier. As we’ve discussed, having a disaster recovery plan in place could be the deciding factor in whether your business survives the impact of a disaster. Equally if you don’t have the resources to continually review and test your plan ultimately your business will only find out how robust youe plan is when disaster strikes. 

Outsourcing to a third party can take these concerns away – you get access to a specialist supplier who deals with disaster recovery on a day to day basis and are used to providing on the ground support. This is what we specialise in at First Recovery. We offer cost effective solutions to SMEs so don’t make the mistake of thinking that your business can’t afford what many think of as an expensive service.

At First Recovery we offer two packages:

  • For smaller businesses employing up to 20 people, the cost is £625 per year.
  • For businesses employing between 10 and 100 people, the cost is £895 per year

If disaster does strike, we supply you with a disaster event manager who can take control and guide your business. We can get you set up in alternative premises with PCs and other essential office equipment ready to go, assist in getting your own IT and phone systems back up and running and restoring your online capability. Most importantly we provide practical advice focused on getting your business back up and running

If you do take a policy out with us as well, it may be worth letting your insurer know as having a professional disaster recovery service in place may have a positive impact on your business insurance premiums. As well as getting all of the benefits mentioned above, it may be possible to offset the costs against insurance premiums you are already committed to.

If you have any questions about the services we offer at First Recovery then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today – providing practical advice and action at time of disaster is what we do.