shutterstock_374165647With hurricanes, floods, fires and other weather-related events increasing in frequency and severity, it’s now more important than ever for companies to keep their disaster recovery plans current. A well-designed plan for business continuity and disaster recovery enables a company to react quickly to unexpected events and perhaps lessen the impact on business operations.

Business interruption (BI) and supply chain disruption topped the list of threats to corporations in the 2016 Allianz Risk Barometer of top business risks.[1] In its 2015 Global Claims Review, Allianz noted categories that accounted for more than 90% of BI losses. Fire and explosion topped the list of damage causes, followed by storms and machinery breakdown.[2]

Business continuity and disaster recovery plans can serve as the first response in the wake of a disruptive event. A well-documented business continuity plan can help organizations anticipate likely scenarios, outline response actions and react rapidly, thus increasing the likelihood of resuming normal operations quickly and with the least interruption.

A comprehensive disaster recovery plan should include:[3]

  • An accurate, up-to-date communications call list of internal and external resources and responders
  • Trained emergency response team members who understand their roles and responsibilities in an emergency situation
  • A documented work plan outlining steps and procedures that responders can follow in a disaster. This should include a current network diagram of the entire IT network and the recovery site.
  • An up-to-date list of all software and systems applications used by company personnel
  • Contingency arrangements made in advance with third-party providers such as cloud service providers for emergency support services until operations are restored
  • Current lists of vendors and insurance providers, including policy and account numbers
  • Sharing the company’s business continuity and disaster recovery plan with local area first responders

Regularly updating and testing a disaster recovery plan to reflect changes in business strategy and operations is a best practice. Business continuity experts recommend that organizations test their IT disaster recovery plans at least annually to ensure all responders anticipate the most likely disaster scenarios, know their roles and with whom they will likely work, and understand what is expected of them in a crisis situation.

[1] Allianz Risk Barometer 2016, available at:

[2] Allianz Global Claims Review 2015 report, available at:

[3] Compiled from the Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery website by TechTarget with disaster recovery and business continuity resources, available at:  and from “Ten things that must be included in IT disaster recovery plans,” by Harvey Betan,, available at:

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