Sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. Disaster recovery plans can rapidly grow in complexity, as organisations get larger and IT systems more intricate. The use of templates can sometimes help DR planners to focus on essentials, but even templates don’t always do the trick. As with many challenges, the way forward may be to break the problem down into component parts or to initially simplify it and build in any additional, necessary complexity afterwards. For example, larger entities might start with a small business approach to ensure that each department or business unit at least has the following items under control.

As a pragmatic approach to disaster recovery at the SMB level, three preparatory actions can be undertaken. Firstly, make sure that employees know where to go and whom to contact if their office becomes inaccessible or unavailable. Secondly, make sure that relevant insurance policies are current. And thirdly, maintain secure, current, replicated and above all tested data backups, including everything you need for regulatory compliance or that is of strategic importance to your business. While disaster recovery is by definition an IT-centric function, it may take an insurer to finance restarting IT. It may also take more than getting IT back on its feet to have everyone using it productively again.

Although this is a good start for individual small businesses, just trying to bundle a collection of SMB disaster recovery plans together for the larger corporation may be wasteful or ineffective. Group insurance policies are usually more cost-effective than individual ones for each unit, and cloud backup services to cover data backups encourage better control and coordination – not to mention assurance that each department is sufficiently well covered. But if initial attempts to draw up a global disaster recovery plan stall or get bogged down in detail, an approach to first instigate simple basic mechanisms for remedying disasters can be a company lifesaver while the finer points are being worked out.