Disaster Recovery Plan

Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Disasters can take many forms, from a hurricane, a flood, or the avian flu, to a power outage or a computer system crash. Such disasters can strike at any time which makes having a disaster recovery plan so important. Disaster recovery is the process of resuming the organization’s activities after a disruptive event. Having a plan of action to respond to such events will enable personnel to act quickly and appropriately during a time of disruption. A disaster recovery plan includes how employees and volunteers will continue to carry out the organization’s mission.

The First Step: Determine What is Most Important to Protect 

The first step in creating a disaster recovery plan is to determine what items in the organization are most important to protect; what applications are necessary in keeping the organization operating. Protecting people should be of foremost importance. Without its employees and volunteers, an organization’s mission cannot be carried out. After protecting people, other important assets are financial data, databases, contracts, insurance files, client files, and human resource files.

The Second Step: Documentation

The second step in disaster recovery planning is documentation. The current systems in place should be documented. Systems documentation should include: procedures for the accounting system and software; how data files are backed up; the schedule for data file back ups; and where the back up disks or tapes are stored. In addition, a listing for alternative resources should be maintained. These include safety and community services that might be needed; temporary alternative office sites; and any equipment and supplies that would be needed for recovery operations. Key contacts should also be documented. The key contact list should include contact information for employees, volunteers, board members, insurance companies, key vendors, and key agencies.

The Third Step: Distribute the Recovery Plan

Another important step of planning for disasters is to share non-confidential disaster recovery information with each employee that will help each one learn his or her responsibilities should a disaster strike. Copies of the fully documented plan should also be stored at an off site location.

The Final Step: Regularly Review and Update the Disaster Recovery Plan

Finally, all disaster recovery plans should be reviewed and updated on regular bases so that any necessary changes made. Over time, changes in personnel and procedures will occur. The disaster recovery plan should be updated with these types of changes.

Most disasters cannot be anticipated. However, preventative measures can be taken to guard against the effects of an unexpected disaster.

Posted by: Carrie Minnich, CPA

Posted in Mission Minded Nonprofits

Disclaimer: The information contained in Dulin, Ward & DeWald’s blog is provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice on any subject matter. Before taking any action based on this information, we strongly encourage you to consult competent legal, accounting or other professional advice about your specific situation. Questions on blog posts may be submitted to your DWD representative.

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