Banks and Credit Unions, Business Process Improvement, Data Security and Privacy, Regulatory Compliance

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

FSSI logo FSSI on March 25, 2021

Person toppling blocks like dominos.

It’s easy to assume that a downtime event will never happen to your company, but the truth is that more than 50% of companies have experienced a downtime event lasting a full workday in the last five years. Of the companies that experienced a major data disaster, 96% of those with a disaster recovery plan survived, while 93% of those without one were out of business within one year.¹

Protect your business by developing a business continuity plan that includes disaster recovery and investing in technologies, such as a Storage Area Network (SAN) system, which can optimize storage, improve cyber security and protect your entire infrastructure from the effects of a disaster

disaster recovery and business continuity infographic.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are similar, but with some key differences.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a formal document created with a structured approach to help an organization quickly resume operations after a natural disaster, security breach, power outage, or other unplanned events. A DR plan contains strategies designed to minimize the effects of the event and restore organizational operations back to normal with limited or no interruptions.

These events can lead to lost revenue, diminished brand reputation, and, most importantly, dissatisfied customers. The longer the recovery time, the greater impact it will have on your business. A well-designed DR plan should facilitate the quickest recovery from a disruption, regardless of the cause.

The Goals of a Disaster Recovery Plan?

The goal of a DR plan is to enable the organization to recover critical systems and IT infrastructure as soon as possible after a disaster occurs. To prepare for this, organizations often perform an in-depth analysis of their systems and create a formal document to follow in times of crisis. This document is known as a disaster recovery plan. Your company’s BCP is not complete without a DRP.

What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity planning (BCP) involves creating systems to prevent and recover from a disaster. There are three primary goals for an effective business continuity plan:

  • Preventing a disaster from occurring or reoccurring
  • Enabling ongoing operations during and after a disaster
  • Returning business operations to normal after a disaster

Difference Between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity?

Business continuity focuses on keeping business operations functional during a disaster, while disaster recovery focuses on restoring data access and IT infrastructure after a disaster. Business continuity requires you to keep operations running during and immediately after the event, serving as a temporary fix. On the other hand, a disaster recovery plan outlines how your organization can get back to functioning normally. While business continuity primarily focuses on the organization, disaster recovery mainly focuses on your technological infrastructure.

Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan

Having a complete business continuity management plan, including a DRP, will minimize your recovery time and the economic impact of a service interruption, which is vital to the survival of your business. Here are the benefits of having a DRP:

  1. Operations can continue from a secure and functional external location
  2. Data is backed up and archived, eliminating data loss
  3. Improved security and reduced potential of liabilities
  4. Prevention of further damage from rushed decisions and unforeseen factors
  5. Establishing an alternative means of operation ahead of a disaster and training personnel with specific emergency procedures will facilitate a rapid and successful restoration of operations and revenue.

What Constitutes a Disaster?

When we think of “disasters,” we typically think of hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and, in recent times, global pandemics. However, disasters can come from anywhere at any time, and no business is immune.

Examples of real disasters that caused damage to companies:

  • An earthquake that caused a data center to crumble
  • Flooding from an old roof that collapsed during a storm
  • Employees abandoning their professional duties in a natural disaster
  • Monkeys that caused a nationwide blackout (wild but true)

In business and life, it is safe to expect the unexpected. Having an effective disaster recovery plan can keep your company prepared for any situation.

disaster recovery plan checklist.
These are the elements of a successful disaster recovery plan. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are crucial in limiting the damage of a disaster, hack, or other service outages.

Elements of an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan


To avoid downtime due to a disaster, having redundancies at a secure secondary location while your primary location is recovering is essential. This is especially important for companies that send out time-critical documents and cannot afford downtime due to disasters.

Equipment and Technology Redundancy
Having the same equipment and technology at your secondary location is vital for creating optimal output. Mismatched equipment or technology can lead to a decline in quality and speed, potentially resulting in missed deadlines or even brand confusion.

Network and Bandwidth Redundancy
Creating mirror networks and bandwidth capabilities at your disaster recovery location allows for a smooth transition when a catastrophe strikes. Paired with data backup and archival, this will protect against potential data losses and failures.

Power Redundancy
Running equipment, technology, secure networks, and large bandwidths all require a significant power supply. Having a dedicated generator onsite at both your primary and disaster recovery locations is necessary to protect against massive power failures and keep your operations running.

Hardware and Software Inventory

Ensure you have a detailed inventory of your hardware and software applications in priority order. Include each item’s vendor technical support information, contact numbers, as well as any contract or warranty data. This will enable you to get back up and running quickly in the event of a failure, with the necessary information readily available.

Downtime and Data Loss Tolerance

Depending on your business and the services you provide, your tolerance for server and technology downtime may vary. Identifying that tolerance level will give you a starting point for disaster planning. Determine acceptable recovery point and recovery time objectives for each set of applications. This will help prioritize survival measures, make your DRP cost-effective, and lower the risk of over or underestimating what is recoverable in a disaster. Categorize your applications based on priority once you have identified those metrics.

Appoint Personnel and Back-up Personnel

Define each person’s responsibilities during a DR situation, including who is responsible for making the decision to declare a disaster and who will alert the disaster recovery team and in what order. Staff at all levels should understand their role and how it fits into the whole process. This step is especially important when working with third-party providers. Each position should also have a backup in case the primary agent is unable to perform their duties.

Communication Plan

When a disaster occurs, regular communication channels like phone and email may be inhibited. Make a plan for communicating with your employees and instruct them on how to access the necessary systems to perform their duties. Your plan should include processes for initial and ongoing communications, as well as how you will communicate with vendors and customers during this time.

Documentation and Testing

Each part of your plan should be written and distributed to the appropriate parties. Ensure that the plan, contact information, and instructions are accessible without the use of phone or email so employees and others can reference the plan as needed. Test your plan frequently, at least twice a year, to identify and correct any gaps. DRPs are rarely watertight on the first draft, and you do not want to find out that you overlooked something during a real disaster.

Technology and Tools Needed for Effective Disaster Recovery


Backups refer to data copies of original files. Performing regular backups allows users to locate and restore original files and enables quick and easy full recovery of stored files. Backups are typically restored to secondary disaster recovery sites. It is crucial to perform backups often to ensure that any data that does not have a backup is not lost.


Archiving involves the storage of data that must be kept long-term to meet clients’ business rules, legal and compliance requirements. Unlike backups that are often deleted after a designated time period, archived data is retained for compliance and regulatory purposes. Back-up files are often needed for daily operations, while archived data tends to be used less frequently.

Continuous Data Protection (CDP)

CDP is a continuous backup system that copies data to a target system every time a change is made. This system reduces the recovery point objective to almost zero, meaning that recovery can occur with virtually no loss of data. Management tools are necessary to establish when the most recent copies were made.


CDP is a continuous backup system that copies data to a target system every time a change is made. This system reduces the recovery point objective to almost zero, meaning that recovery can occur with virtually no loss of data. Management tools are necessary to establish when the most recent copies were made.

Data Duplication

Data deduplication involves eliminating duplicate files and blocks, dramatically reducing the amount of data backed up each time. This reduction in necessary storage space by up to 40:1 optimizes bandwidth during remote backup, replication, or disaster recovery.


Servers can be configured to allow redundant devices to take over from primary devices in case of failure, abnormal activity, or scheduled downtime. In the event of a disaster, a secondary site would take over critical operations, enabling continuous function during and after the disaster.

What Happens if You Don’t Prepare for a Disaster?

Complete Data Loss
Servers can be configured to allow redundant devices to take over from primary devices in case of failure, abnormal activity, or scheduled downtime. In the event of a disaster, a secondary site would take over critical operations, enabling continuous function during and after the disaster.

Shrinking Customer Base
Business interruption can be particularly devastating, as seen throughout 2020 and 2021 due to events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Downtime costs money, and data loss and security breaches lead to downtime. Long periods of downtime can cause customers to question your preparedness for any type of disruption, resulting in the loss of a significant percentage of your customer base. Negative word-of-mouth spreads quickly.

Costly Replacements
If your business can sustain a disaster without a recovery plan, it will come at a cost. Replacing hardware, rekeying data, profit loss, productivity loss, customer loss, and reputation damage can significantly affect your financial position. Fortunately, a disaster recovery plan can help minimize these costs.

How Does FSSI Address Disaster Recovery?

Preparing for disasters and having a robust disaster recovery plan in place is essential for businesses of all sizes. By investing in technologies and strategies that protect your infrastructure and enable swift recovery, you can minimize the impact of disruptions, safeguard your data, maintain business operations, and ensure the continuity of your services. Remember, disaster recovery planning is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process that requires regular review, testing, and updates to stay relevant and effective.

FSSI is a mail outsourcing service provider specializing in high-volume customer communications. We offer customizable solutions with multiple facility locations, state-of-the-art equipment, secure data processing, innovative backup/archival technology, and expert network security.

We understand the importance of disaster recovery planning and help businesses mitigate risks. Our comprehensive approach combines cutting-edge technology, secure data processing, and expert support for reliable infrastructure. With our resources and expertise, we handle high-volume communications while maintaining data security. Our backup and archival technology ensures data accessibility during disasters.

We emphasize documentation, testing, and employee training. Our clients’ detailed disaster recovery plans cover all essential aspects of operations. Regular testing and training exercises prepare teams for effective plan execution.

Partnering with FSSI provides peace of mind. We prioritize security and continuity, allowing you to focus on core activities and serve customers confidently.

Contact our outsourcing specialists at 714.436.3300 to learn how FSSI supports disaster recovery and business continuity. We assess your needs and provide tailored solutions to protect against disruptions.

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