Disaster recovery (DR) has been the focus of the tech world for decades. For all that time, it has been used to describe different and mostly contradictory things. For some people, disaster recovery means restoring data systems after something bad happens. To others, it means putting measures in place to keep things running until you can access your data center again after a disaster. In other times, DR means preparing an organization to handle something bad.

As you can see, there is one common idea encircling disaster recovery: something bad. That bad thing can range from natural disasters to disasters caused by human error. Therefore, businesses should always be prepared for more than just the obvious.

The preparation processes differ from business to business, and are also determined by the nature of the disaster. But, the recovery processes are almost always the same. The good thing is that some aspects of DR have become much easier than before. For example, in the era of cloud computing, businesses can use data that’s already in cloud storage.

When planning for disaster recovery, an organization should be able to differentiate between what constitutes a disaster and what’s simply an inconvenience. Generally, anything which disrupts a business’ day-to-day operations can be considered a disaster. For example, major power outage, hurricanes, earthquakes, snowstorms, and terrorism.

So what is disaster recovery? It is the process of resuming operations for any organization after a disaster. The process includes regaining access to data and the applications and communications which the business used to access using the data.

Disaster recovery at times may include finding alternative works locations, re-establishing communications, finding ways for your employees to return to work. Also, recovery can include providing the necessary infrastructure and logistics to assist the organization to resume normal operations. Disaster recovery is all about resuming normal operations, which means building or bringing access to new data center.

A good DR begins with proper planning. When a disaster strikes, you will have limited or no time to think about your response. Therefore, businesses should plan for their response early in advance, and the response should reflect the nature and the scope of the disaster. Besides, the organization should customize the plan to meet its specific needs.

It’s impossible to predict the nature or the extent of any disaster, so, organizations should have several plans in place. These plans should be functional and reflect the range of bad possibilities. That is, from losing access to your facility to losing the entire facility.

Therefore, businesses should design their disaster recovery plans around foreseeable events. That they should factor in possible natural disasters surrounding them.  However, the plan should in include several key components regardless of how and where the business focuses the plan. These components should include recovery of the facility, depending on the disaster.

For example, restoration of power and communications are even reconstruction. Businesses should assume they need a facility to stay in operation, like temporary offices, where the business can be able to conduct the rest of the recovery processes.

Organizations also need to have a communications recovery plan. The organizations will be required to move data and voice communication to a new location, while they are not operating from the primary facility. This means possibly switching to a different facility with backup data and systems or allowing employees to work from their homes.

Employees are also a critical component of any disaster recovery plan. So, organizations should plan for scenarios where their staff may be unable to travel to the work location. In addition, organizations should also plan for the possibility of losing their staff after some types of disasters.