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In the business world, a disaster recovery plan is a plan which is intended to keep a business as functional as possible during a disaster, and to help the business recover quickly in the event of a disaster. These plans are recommended for businesses of all sizes, and businesses which routinely network with other companies may want to work together on a plan. For example, an Internet company which relies on another company for hosting services might want to be familiar with that company's disaster recovery plan to help disaster recovery go more smoothly.
One form of disaster is a natural disaster such as a flood, earthquake, or wildfire. Natural disasters can damage data centers in addition to facilities where business is done, making it imperative to create facilities which are as secure as possible and to have measures such as offsite backup so that in the event that a data center is destroyed or inaccessible, the data will still be available. Especially in areas where natural disasters are common, a disaster recovery plan benefits from being as detailed and broad as possible.
Another type of disaster is a man-made disaster, which can range from a catastrophic operator error to a deliberate attempt to cause damage. Mistakes can cause data loss, power outages, and a wide variety of other problems, while malicious attacks like hackings can compromise data or render it unusable. A good disaster recovery plan also accounts for these types of situations, as planning and response to man-made disasters is different than that for natural disasters.
As with a civilian disaster plan, a disaster recovery plan considers the existing systems in place, potential weak points in those systems, and ways in which a system can be improved. The plan also goes into great detail about how services can be maintained as long as possible in an emergency situation, and what to do when services go down and need to be restored. The goal of the recovery plan is to allow a company to respond quickly and effectively, to minimize the disruption in services.
Some companies take advantage of professional planning skills, hiring a consultant to formulate a disaster recovery plan and to refine the company's response to emergency situations. Planning also requires constant evaluation and updating of an existing plan, and extensive employee training so that people are familiar with the specifics of the disaster recovery plan.