Do you have a written disaster recovery plan for your organisation? Putting disaster recovery procedures on paper or into a file to read on your computer or smartphone is a key part of good disaster recovery planning. But just by itself, it’s not a guarantee of DR success. For one thing, the outside world moves on whereas your plan does not (unless you make the effort to revise it). But adjusting for the reality of a changing environment is just one way that your disaster recovery plan needs to be kept real.

Ensure that your disaster recovery plan makes sense for your enterprise. Your plan must bring operations back to normal as quickly as required and in the correct order of priority. That means correctly identifying the core business of your enterprise. This may not be as easy as you think. In many organisations, even senior managers are unable to state clearly or consistently what the organisation’s objectives are. But if you’re in charge of disaster recovery planning, you must know. And if you don’t know, you must find out.

Make sure too that other people understand and can act on your disaster recovery plan. An untrained person (untrained in disaster recovery planning) must be able to use your plan to successfully manage disaster recovery, if you are not there. As a first test, try re-reading your own DR plan a week or so after you wrote it to see if you still understand it. Get an untrained person to read it. Consider blank looks and knitted eyebrows to be signs that you could improve the clarity and applicability of your plan! Likewise, in your regular testing of your disaster recovery plan, find different people to apply the plan to check that you’re continuing to write it in a way that makes sense to all.