Business Recovery Processes


Business recovery is the process of bringing your business back online in the aftermath of a disaster. Disaster recovery can happen quickly, but it usually takes longer than expected. It’s important to have a plan in place to recover from any disruption so that you can continue operating with minimum disruption and maximum efficiency. We’ll walk through a typical business recovery process and outline what needs to be done at each step along the way:

Conducting a risk assessment

Conducting a risk assessment is the most important step in the process of identifying threats to your business and developing an effective recovery plan. The key to conducting an effective risk assessment is to identify all of the threats, risks, vulnerabilities, and controls that affect the operations of your business.

Once you have identified these factors, it is not enough to list them – you must also determine what impact each factor could have on your organization if a disaster strikes. For example:

  • If a tornado damaged our facility, we would be unable to continue operations because we do not have another site where we can operate until repairs are made (impact).
  • If our building is destroyed by fire, we need to find another location that meets our needs while we repair or replace our damaged facility (impact).

Conducting a business impact analysis

  • Identify the business processes that are impacted by a disaster.
  • Identify the criticality of each process.
  • Identify the dependencies between processes. The dependencies can be direct or indirect, such as one process depending on another process for its data or resources or an upstream process is dependent on a downstream process for what it produces. For example, Sales depends on Marketing to produce content; Marketing depends on Finance for budgeting information.
  • Identify recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOS). An RTO defines the maximum amount of time allowed before a business operation is restored after failure occurs; it usually refers to how long it takes for production systems to recover from an outage (e.g., how long does it take for your website to be up again if your server goes down). An RPOS defines when data must be recovered in order to resume business operations at pre-failure levels; this could apply both within internal systems (e.g., if you lose some sales data but still have some history available so you can get back “to normal”) and with external systems (e.g., if you need access through credit card processors in order not to lose revenue while they recover their own systems).

Defining a business recovery response and recovery strategy

When an organization experiences a disruption, it is important to identify the critical business processes and resources that are impacted. The next step is to define recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). The RTO defines how quickly an organization can resume normal operations after a disruption. At the same time, the RPO sets out how much data loss or degradation can be tolerated during a recovery. These two metrics are critical for determining how much effort should be placed on business continuity planning (BCP) activity.

Once you have defined your RTOs and RPOs, you will need to identify which resources should be used when recovering from a disruption—this includes people with technical skills as well as physical facilities such as backup generators or mobile cell towers. Once these key areas have been identified, you can move on to identifying a strategic BCP strategy for your organization by looking at what works best in terms of resilience against different types of disruptions, such as natural disasters versus malicious cyberattacks.

Documenting business recovery response and recovery plans

Documentation should be in a format that the business and its employees can easily understand. This documentation should include the following:

  • A list of all infrastructure affected by the disaster, including equipment, facilities, and systems.
  • Timelines for when each stage of restoration will occur (i.e., restoring power at specific times).
  • Names and contact information for key personnel responsible for coordinating and carrying out business recovery response activities, as well as names of support staff or contractors involved in critical tasks such as power restoration or cleaning/debris removal efforts.

Training covers business recovery response and recovery procedures

Training covers business recovery response and recovery procedures.

  • Train all employees on the importance of responding quickly to a disaster situation and what they should do if one occurs. Include all vendors and suppliers in training, as well.
  • Ensure your training is ongoing, not just at the initial start-up time. Review responses periodically to ensure they remain current or up-to-date with any changes that may have occurred in your business environment since you first put them into place.
  • Train employees to use their judgment when responding to a scenario; don’t expect everyone to follow the same steps exactly as written out in a procedure manual!

Updating business recovery response and recovery plans

  • Update business recovery response and recovery plans:
  • Review and update the plan to ensure it is current.
  • Refresh the plan to ensure it is still relevant.
  • Review the plan to ensure it is still accurate and relevant.

Auditing business recovery response and recovery plans

In an audit, you review your business recovery plan to ensure it is implemented as intended. You should also check that your plan’s components align with industry best practices and applicable laws. If they’re not, you may need to change them or update your plan accordingly.

For example, you may want to do an audit if:

  • You have recently made significant changes to your business model or operations (e.g., launching a new product line).
  • There has been a change in leadership or other key staffing changes at the management level within your organization that could impact how well employees follow through on their responsibilities during a disaster situation (e.g., hiring an executive who doesn’t attend meetings).

A plan for recovering from a disaster is essential for businesses to continue operating.

Business recovery is part of business continuity. It’s about getting your business back up and running quickly after a disaster, but it’s not just about resuming operations. A business recovery plan is essential for businesses to continue operating.

Businesses that have invested in recovering from disasters will likely be able to recover more quickly than those that haven’t prepared for the worst-case scenario. A well-executed business recovery process can help you recover faster, even if it is less expensive than expected or ends up with no losses at all!


Businesses need to be prepared for disasters. You can’t predict when a disaster will occur, but if you have a plan in place, it will help ensure that your business keeps running smoothly and recovers quickly after one has happened. If you don’t have one already, start working on it today!

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