Like BCPs, DRPs require business impact analysis (BIA)—the outlining of roles and responsibilities and constant testing and refinement. But because DRPs are more reactive in nature, there is more of a focus on risk analysis and data backup and recovery. Steps 2 and 3 of DRP development, performing risk analysis (RA) and creating an asset inventory are not part of the BCP development process at all.
Here’s a widely used five-step process for creating a DRP:
1. Conduct business impact analysis
Like in your BCP process, start by assessing each threat your company could face and what its ramifications might be. Consider how potential threats might impact daily operations, regular communication channels and worker safety. Additional considerations for a strong BIA include loss of revenue, cost of downtime, cost of reputational repair (public relations), loss of customers and investors (short and long term) and any incurred penalties from compliance violations.
2. Analyze risks
DRPs typically require more careful risk assessment than BCPs since their role is to focus on recovery efforts from a potential disaster. During the risk analysis (RA) portion of planning, consider a risk’s likelihood and potential impact on your business.
3. Create an asset inventory
To create an effective DRP, you must know exactly what your enterprise owns, its purpose/function and its condition. Doing regular asset inventory helps identify hardware, software, IT infrastructure and anything else your organization might own that is crucial to your business operations. Once you’ve identified your assets, you can group them into three categories—critical, important and unimportant:
- Critical: Only label assets as critical if they are required for normal business operations.
- Important: Give this label to assets that are used at least once a day and, if disrupted, would have an impact on business operations (but not shut them down entirely).
- Unimportant: These are assets your business uses infrequently that are not essential for normal business operations.
4. Establish roles and responsibilities
Just like in your BCP development, you’ll need to clearly outline responsibilities and ensure team members have what they need to perform their required duties. Without this crucial step, no one will know how to act during a disaster. Here are some roles and responsibilities to consider when building your DRP:
- Incident reporter: Someone who maintains contact information for relevant parties and communicates with business leaders and stakeholders when disruptive events occur.
- DRP supervisor: The DRP supervisor ensures team members perform the tasks they’ve been assigned during an incident.
- Asset manager: Someone whose job it is to secure and protect critical assets when a disaster strikes.
- Third-party liaison: The person who coordinates with any third-party vendors or service providers you’ve hired as part of your DRP and updates stakeholders accordingly on how the DRP is going.
5. Test and refine
Like your BCP, your DRP requires constant practice and refinement to be effective. Practice it regularly and update it according to any meaningful changes that need to be made. For example, if your company acquires a new asset after your DRP has been formed, you’ll need to incorporate it into your plan to ensure it’s protected going forward.