During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies realized the importance of having a disaster recovery plan.
Disaster recovery, however, is only part of the picture.
To ensure success during crises and turbulent times, it is important to develop a comprehensive approach that includes emergency response plans, business continuity plans, and more.
Below, we’ll learn a few strategies that can help mitigate risk and maximize profitability during difficult times.
How to Create a Post-COVID-19 Disaster Recovery Plan
Strictly speaking, disaster recovery only focuses on recovery efforts during a disaster or an emergency situation, such as an extreme weather incident or a workplace accident.
Disaster recovery plans outline processes aimed at restoring losses such as:
- Data and hardware
- Business processes and functions
- Physical assets
Ultimately, the aim of a disaster recovery plan is to restore business operations to their normal state.
Many businesses, as mentioned, realized the importance of having a disaster recovery plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To truly ensure stability, however, it is important to implement a set of plans, such as those covered below.
An emergency response plan outlines a series of actions to take during the first few minutes of a potentially life-threatening situation, such as a natural disaster.
The aim of an emergency response plan is to protect human lives, first and foremost.
Typical actions to take during an emergency response plan include:
- Sheltering in place
A risk assessment can help companies identify scenarios that could pose a threat to human life and to the business.
Common scenarios can include:
- Natural disasters
- Severe weather events
- Workplace accidents
Also, as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, pandemics can also pose a threat to human life.
However, to cope with a long-term outbreak, business leaders should develop other response efforts, such as business continuity plans.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Business continuity plans revolve around:
- Maintaining key business operations
- Ensuring that employees can work effectively
- Protecting people
- Restoring business operations
According to many experts, disaster recovery efforts are included within business continuity plans. Others, however, distinguish between the two types of plans.
Regardless of how an organization structures its plans, what is important is accomplishing the key objectives mentioned above.
When designing both business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans, the same series of steps is followed:
- Perform a business impact analysis, which will determine how a particular disruption will impact operations
- Identify required resources, recovery options, and potential recovery strategies
- Develop a step-by-step plan of action to take during a disruption or crisis
- Train employees and conduct simulations to ensure that employees can respond quickly and effectively
Business continuity plans, emergency response plans, and disaster recovery plans should all be documented and updated regularly.
With proper planning – as well as effective execution – these plans can help organizations minimize the negative impacts of a disruption or disaster.
Yet it is important to note that these plans are reactive, rather than proactive. In order to minimize the impacts of disruptions even further, it is important to build processes and systems that are more resilient.
Organizational resilience takes a much more comprehensive approach to reducing the impacts of business disruptions.
Frameworks vary depending on the source, but organizational resilience strategies typically embrace a variety of disciplines including:
- Human resources. Human resources professionals train employees on software, processes, and response plans. They also play an important role in developing other areas that can improve resilience, such as the workplace culture and the employee experience.
- Information technology. The right IT systems and tools can dramatically improve an organization’s ability to respond to, recover from, or resist disruptive events. Remote working technology, for instance, has allowed organizations to stay operational during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Finance. Economic conditions can pose significant threats to an organization, which is why financial planning should account for a variety of scenarios, including major crises and depressions.
- Risk management. As a discipline, risk management analyzes potential threats that include many of the disruptive events mentioned already: natural disasters, financial risks, workplace accidents, and so forth.
- Supply chain management. Supply chains have been significantly impaired during the COVID-19 crisis, demonstrating the need for newer, more agile approaches to supply chain management. New approaches to supplier management, such as digital supply networks, can offer a great deal of flexibility, while also improving resilience.
- Response planning. Response plans, such as those covered above, also form a core part of an organizational resilience strategy. These efforts should be called upon only when necessary, however, and they should not be the only pillar of an organizational resilience strategy.
By creating business processes that are more agile, robust, and resilient, organizations will stand a much better chance of weathering disruptions and staying profitable when disruptions do occur.