Building a disaster recovery plan (DRP) can be simple, yet many businesses are still without one, which leaves them vulnerable to data loss. Your role as a managed services provider (MSP) is to protect your customers from catastrophic losses by assisting them with a customized plan that fits their backup and disaster recovery (BDR) needs. Disaster recovery (DR) and intelligent business continuity (IBC) solutions vendor Datto offered MSPs some insight regarding this topic on the company's blog. We'll reveal the key points of an effective DRP that ensures business continuity (BC).

Before writing a DRP, think of the basics. Write a plan that is comprehensive, outlining each step clearly. A DRP is useless if no one can understand it. Include key contacts and their roles; time tables for restoration; and services that need to be enabled first.

Remember: The formatting of your plan can vary from customer to customer, as long as it includes the basics and the following five items:

  • Written, physical plan -- The written disaster recovery plan is your lifeline, protect it. This plan should include recovery procedures for everything from one server being down to the whole organization. Which servers need to be up and running? Who will be making decisions? This plan includes it all;
  • Keep software disks ready -- Are software disks readily available? Keep disks for any important software installations, including operating systems (OSs);
  • Clarify the objective recovery -- Clarify your immediate and future goal, commonly known as recovery point objective (RPO);
  • Keep local backups and off-site backups up-to-date -- Keeping backups up-to-date will provide you with options for restoring from a variety of points; and
  • Keep your cool -- Your customers may not be calm, but it's important for you to keep your cool. You're the expert, not them. If you have everything under control, they'll be more relaxed, allowing you to do your job.

Your customers may not even be aware of a disaster recovery plan, so inform them. Explain the possible negative outcomes and what that means for them. Show examples of plans and how you plan for them on your end.